Plating is the term used in the food industry that describes the process of laying out the parts of a meal to give it a special look and to make it more enticing and appetizing. Chopped up herbs are sprinkled about and colorful and tasty sauces are swirled, dotted and splashed on the plate to add pizzazz. A very common herb used for looks and flavor is parsley.
Parsley used to be just laid on the side of the plate as garnish to dress up the plate. You don’t see much of that anymore, but for me it still makes the dinner special. I also like the taste of parsley and am one of those people that actually eat it because it tastes good and it makes my breath fresh.
So why am I talking about parsley?
This morning I made a yummy breakfast of chopped veggies and eggs with a great cup of coffee. As I wandered out to my patio to eat, I realized I could have dressed it up with some of the parsley growing in my garden and make it even more tasty and special. With just a bit more effort, I could treat myself like company. I should add more garnish to my life.
I am pretty good at taking care of myself and enjoying my free time, but I could improve the quality of the little time off I have. This doesn’t have to happen every day, just once in awhile and especially when I am drained and need recharging. It should be a priority for me to take care of me.
Does this sound selfish?
The first rule in First-Aid is to take care of yourself so you can care for others. At times I’ve lost my temper or was short with someone and it was because I was not taking care of myself and meeting my needs. I was tired, hungry or overwhelmed and didn’t have the ability to listen, be patient or be concerned for someone else. I am usually good at recognizing when I need to recharge and take time for me, but now I’ve realized that I can do it a little better.
What does this mean?
Well, for one, putting parsley on my eggs once in awhile. Buying myself flowers every so often or taking myself out to dinner. I would do these things for someone else, so why not for me?
I learned a very powerful lesson years ago when I had just separated from my husband. I was so depressed that for a month I hardly got out of bed. I could barely function. I wasn’t eating and wasn’t taking the best care of my son, who was a toddler at the time. On my first trip to the grocery store I had no idea what to buy. I was there for over an hour and left with a can of tuna fish and some frozen grape juice, things I ate all my life so these were easy choices. During my marriage I had been so focused on my husband’s and son’s needs that I had forgotten what I liked to eat. I had lost myself somewhere along the way in my marriage and needed to recover me.
I came up with the idea of getting a manicure and pedicure. It was one of the most decadent things I could think of and at twenty-six I had never had the experience. Sitting in the chair with my feet soaking and my fingers being polished I suddenly felt like a queen! I had never experienced that feeling before and made up my mind I was going to make this feeling a part of my life. I smiled for the first time in a long while and this helped me get back on my feet and functioning again. It was a much needed garnish.
As a massage therapist, I have several clients that understand this concept and others that only come in when they are hurting so bad they can’t function. I talk to people about taking care of themselves, whether it is having regular massage, doing regular exercise, meditating, or other ways they can recharge themselves.
Yesterday I had a client come in for a massage who is in the midst of a divorce, helping a son recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol and facing some major changes in her job due to the sale of the company she works for. She is doing her best to meet her needs and looking for ways to recharge and be ready before picking up her son from a recovery center this week. This client is learning how to garnish.
So, eat dessert at the fancy restaurant, make time for fun and positive friends, get your nails done, buy yourself flowers, paint your toes, soak in the tub with a glass of wine and candles, take a Sunday nap, take a day off and spend it with a loved one, snuggle with your pet. This is just a short list of things that are not necessary but can dress up your day and make the difference in how you feel about yourself and what you give to others. Add some garnish to your life!
I would love to hear how you have done something special for yourself that made a difference in your day or your life. How have you garnished your life lately?
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