O.D. to O.D.


December is a complicated month. In the midst of the holiday fun, which is typically top of mind, our office will continue to send “Use It or Lose It” e-blasts, so we are usually quite busy. We finish the end of year inventory, making certain purchases for the year are completed. We also run our numbers, determining where we landed with our goal setting for this year in order to set goals for 2020.

If we let it, December can be overwhelming. Patients often tell me all the reasons they are stressed and why they cannot take better care of themselves. I tell them if they don’t, no one will. I remind them that without renewing themselves, their effectiveness will diminish. They will sleep less and be sick more. Smiles will be replaced with frowns.


Knowing this, why do we not see the ROI in self renewal? In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey writes that the “single most powerful investment” we can make is in ourselves. It’s “the only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute.”

Mr. Covey writes that we need to take time regularly to “sharpen the saw in all four ways.” Those four ways,” or “four dimensions of renewal” of our nature, are physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional.


Physical renewal is simply how we strengthen our physical body. Even a 30-minute walk outside five days a week can make an impact. Walk fast enough to elevate your heart rate and don’t wear your headphones — let your ears hear and your eyes see the beauty around you. Walking outside is also an investment in the spiritual dimension. We are made to have a connection with nature. Let yourself experience it.

Mental investment is much easier today than ever before. Listen to a podcast on your drive to work, if even for a couple of hours a week, or read just one book a week. “The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read,” says Mr. Covey. Go to a seminar, visit an historical site or pick up a hobby. The internet allows us to find answers to any question. The learning should never end.

The spiritual investment for many is with music, art, nature and worship. Regularly take time to renew yourself spiritually. Go to hear a local band or symphony. Visit a museum, especially when a new exhibit is featured. I try to never miss a service at my place of worship. After taking time to invest spiritually, I find I am more peaceful yet motivated, inspired and renewed to focus on the everyday activities of life. Service to others comes easier.

The mental/social/emotional dimension we live and breathe every day or, at least, we have the opportunity to do so. By that I mean we work with other people every day, but do we really connect? Do we empathize? Do we provide a meaningful experience for patients and contribute to their lives in a life-changing way? The goal for social/emotional renewal is to connect with others in a meaningful way.


As you plan, think about how much planning you need to do to take care of you. Renew yourself in these four key areas. You will see and feel the results in yourself, your business and in those around you.

Remember to take the time to invest in you. By example, you will teach those close to you to do the same. It may be the greatest gift you can give — and receive — during the holiday season. OM


Twitter: @DrAprilJasper

Facebook: @OptometricManagement