How to Nurture Yourself
I’ll bet you’re quite familiar with knowing how to nurture others, but maybe you’ve forgotten (or never learned) how to nurture yourself.
Maybe you haven’t realized yet just how critical it is for you to make nurturing yourself a priority. And learning how self-care can expand your sense of well-being.
Is it too late? Nope, never! Let’s dig into how and why.
Nurturing is natural
Most of us would agree that we’ve spent the better part of our lives and our energy on giving, caring for, and selflessly nurturing others.
And as natural as our nurturing instinct is, as young women and young girls, most of us were never given the message clearly and repeatedly that we must do things that nurture ourselves. To feed our spirits, our hearts, our minds.
It may not be instinctual that meanwhile we’re trying to make our way through life, proving ourselves to the world, and caring for those around us, it’s equally important that we build in self-nurturing habits – all the way from the time we’re kids.
Making our own well-being a priority
Nurturing others is no-brainer, but what we may not realize is just how depleting and damaging decades of not getting around to nurturing ourselves properly have been.
For some of us, the years of self-nurturing neglect leaves us scratching our heads and wondering how we would even go about nurturing ourselves – especially now.
Maybe we need a little TLC – a little re-learning of how to help ourselves feel our best, from the inside out. We can relearn to stand our ground to protect our heartfelt interests, to explore passions, to follow our gut, to expand on what inspires us.
And we can unlearn what many of us were subliminally (or outright) told that self-nurturing is selfish or shameful. That self-care brings up deep feelings of not being deserving enough. That devoting energy to ourselves, purely for encouraging our own well-being, is not a priority.
It’s never too late to learn to nurture ourselves
The truth is that nurturing our inner self is not a waste of time, nor frivolous, nor selfish. It’s a lifesaver.
It’s never too late and we’re never too old to create a practice of nurturing ourselves. And not just once a year or once a month. But throughout the week, throughout our days.
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer
The truth is also that the more we nurture ourselves, the more we can give love and support to lift others. You know this is true. Anytime you’ve done something that made you happy and feel fulfilled, you can attest that afterwards your patience and tolerance for what would normally set you off is greater.
Breaking old patterns
To those with daughters, daughter-in-law ‘s, granddaughters. And even sons (although traditionally, males tend to get the go-after-what-you-want message more than females do).
Can we change and shift this perspective? Are we asking them (even from a young age) what they can do to care for and nurture themselves?
I’m not talking about brushing their teeth and getting enough sleep. I mean talking with them about what makes them feel happy? What lights them up on the inside. What sparks their enthusiasm, their joie de vivre! What makes them feel more confident, more expansive, more energized. Are they learning to make time amongst the things they must do, to do what they love doing?
And why do we usually put ourselves last as we become adults?
It’s natural to put our children first because we have the loving responsibility to care for, protect and nurture them. But being all-grown-up doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of self. Our connection to what lights us up as adults.
“You are the author of your own life.” – Jen Sincero, bestselling author
When was the last time you took a close look at what you’re doing (or not doing) on a regular basis to make yourself feel energized and happy… just for you. When was the last time you had fun?
Point those nurturing feelings inward
I feel like it’s a given that our day will include compassion, caring, empathy, nurturing for those around us. Our friends, our children, our spouses, our parents, our coworkers. We are quick to respond with nurturing when it comes to others
“There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect.” – Julia Cameron, The Artists Way
And that is a beautiful thing. That is what makes us loving, kind humans.
I’m only suggesting that we turn some of that nurturing inward. Shower ourselves with a little thoughtfulness and love. That’s all. Just add yourself to the list (near the top!) of people you do nice things for regularly in your life.
Start your day with self-nurturing activities
The value of self-nurturing habits is so great that it can impact your entire day. That’s also why I highly recommend a few moments of self-care in your morning routine. I know firsthand that if I don’t do some self-nurturing at the very beginning of the day, it’s a struggle to ever make it happen at all.
Our days are full and busy with to do lists, work, errands, chores, responsibilities. Things that we can’t avoid. Things on our plate that we don’t want to avoid like time spent with our loved ones.
So… Make a plan to take care of yourself
What can you do? Think about what you can you add to your day, maybe to your morning routine, to prioritize nurturing yourself in some ways, big or small, light or profound.
“If you feel burn out setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” – Dalai Lama, spiritual leader
Nurturing yourself starts by getting in the right mindset
Try positive affirmations, journaling, prayer, reading, mindfulness, exercise, visualizations… or how about treating yourself to a bouquet of flowers, a nice pen, a piece of art, a new journal, lighting a new candle and setting an intention for how you want to feel today.
You may be surprised at how impactful these self-nurturing mindset shifts can be on your entire day, your entire outlook, and how much peace calm and love you carry with you throughout the day.
We’re never too young or too old to ask ourselves what we are doing today to make ourselves feel cared for, appreciated, happy and to nourish our sense of well-being.
Cheers to the journey and to reacquainting ourselves with how to self-nurture! – Marlene
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