We hear it everywhere, advice to "self nurture" and take time out. While that's all fine if you are a lady of leisure with all the time in the world, what about the rest of us?
Fact = Life is busy, and when the going gets tough, it's not every one else who suffers, it's you.
So what is "self-nurturance? In case you live under a rock and have missed it, there is a massive cultural movement taking hold. Words and phrases such as "holistic health" "mindfulness" "clean eating" have entered our daily lexicon. Words, which until recently, were found only in the books of naturopaths, yoga instructors and other holistic health professionals. This is certainly a good thing. It means that as a society we are beginning to understand the negative health impacts of living a busy and stressful lifestyle. However, to many it represents pressure. Pressure to make changes that on the surface seem overwhelming.
Before we go on, it's important to make a very important distinction; Self-nurturance is not the same thing as self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is about striving for happiness at just about any cost. Whether it be about shifting a negative "mood" or distressing emotion, or just "treating" ourselves with "more". The net effect of self-indulgence is that happiness is never quite achieved (and often, those around us suffer). Not to mention the fact that self-indulgent behaviours are often in the long-term....quite unhealthy.
Self-nurturance on the other hand, is about treating yourself with compassion by prioritising your mental and physical health. After all, when our health suffers; so does our ability to function at our best. It is for this reason that self-nurturance has become a phrase that is really taking off. By learning to self-nurture, we can get so much more out of life!
So where to begin? The first step is to turn your attention inwards for at least 5-10 minutes a day. Call it meditation if you like, however what you are really doing is paying attention to your mind and body. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you have never really thought about what it is that you (and your body) really need. Think of it like tuning a radio. You need to learn to "tune in" to your body, and the way to do this is to listen. Once you hit the right channel, the rest is easy.
Start by doing 1 thing for yourself each day. It may be a pedicure, bubble bath at the end of the day, movie with a friend, or even an early night! Once you are able to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs, and THAT is what self-nurturance is all about!
Change takes time, and so don't try a major lifestyle overhaul in one week! For example, if you feel your body is calling out for better nutrition – set one goal per week. You may start by having a healthy breaky each morning, or make sure you have 3-4 alcohol free nights per week. If you change too much too soon, you will feel overwhelmed and be unable to maintain the changes.
Finally, self-nurturance is about acceptance. Accepting that we are not perfect, and make mistakes. A bad day can easily turn into a bad week if we let it. Start each day fresh, and move forward – don't let today be influenced by yesterday's mistakes. Mistakes are part of what makes us human!