The wisdom of self-nurture
Easier, calmer & more joyful
When training as a yoga teacher, one of the biggest benefits I experienced came after a guided deep relaxation. While lying still and resting I was invited to imagine that my internal energy reserves were being fully recharged. This image really resonated with me at the time and when I came out of the guided relaxation I felt amazingly refreshed and deeply re-energised. I didn’t know it then, but a huge internal shift had taken place in me. For the first time in years I felt as if I had an abundance of energy rather than consistently running on empty. The best bit was that my yoga practice enabled me to keep replenishing this level of energy so that I didn’t feel depleted again. This was my first experience of the immense power of self-nurture. My yoga practice allowed me to shift into a new “normal” of operating from a position of strength and dynamism rather than exhaustion. This instantly made my whole life easier, calmer and more joyful.
In many magazines self-care and self-nurture are linked with the idea of pampering: massages, manicures, and candlelit baths. While there is nothing wrong in treating yourself to these things and indeed I know many women who do find this provides a wonderful opportunity for “me time” I still feel that this feeds the myth of self-care as a luxury rather than a necessity. Self-care goes much deeper than this. At a very basic level it is ensuring that you are eating wholesome food at regular intervals, getting adequate sleep, showering and wearing clean clothes. Although these actions fulfil fundamental and primal needs it is surprising how common it is to overlook these by skipping meals, staying up late or simply filling our lives with mindless activity.
However, it is at times of heightened stress, anxiety or depression that these essential activities can become monumental challenges. How do you take care of yourself when there is so much to do, when your mind is distracted, racing and self-critical? How hard is it to take care of yourself if you don’t truly believe that you are worth the effort? Getting these basics in place though is the foundation of your wellbeing.
What is necessary?
Take a moment to ask yourself what is necessary for your good health? What is necessary for your wellbeing? For me it is walking or running in nature, catching up with friends for a cuppa, or allowing there to be space between activities. I am almost obsessive in my need to get enough rest by allowing myself time to “power down” before sleep and going to bed at a sensible time. I have found out the hard way that getting adequate sleep is the single biggest thing I can do to support not just my mental and physical health but also that of my family’s too. Sleep for me is an absolute necessity not an optional extra and as such I choose to make this one of my top priorities.
So, what is necessary for your wellbeing? Take a few moments to write down what nurtures you. Spend some time noticing what things renew and refresh you. Once you have identified them start to make these the cornerstones of your day. You might need to get a little creative as to how you can incorporate them. Can you adapt them to fill the time that you have? How about creating a menu of self-care that you can choose from as the situation allows? Choose what is personal to you. Choose what makes your heart sing with joy.
Of course, developing your own self-care practices takes time and effort. It also takes discernment too. What nurtures you one day could deplete you the next. Recognising how you are feeling in any one moment is key. It is all too easy to disregard your needs as being selfish or superfluous, but your feelings and energies are your signposts for what you truly need. I have found that yoga gives me the insight to “course correct” with my self-care practices. Experience has taught me to recognise and act on this knowledge.
So, can you give yourself permission to care for yourself as much as everyone else? Do you have the wisdom to recognise what you need and act on it?
If you would like to understand how self-nurture can bring you an easier, calmer and more joyful life, then please arrange a free 20-minute health and wellness consultation with me. Please email me for more details at email@example.com
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