We all (or at least everyone I know!) fall in and out of our everyday Self-Nourishing practices. While Self-Care can become non-negotiable, Self-Nourishing often falls by the wayside. That is because our commitment to our Self-Care is often about keeping the machine running and so becomes another task to complete. We know it needs to happen.
Self-Nourishment, on the other hand, is all about caring for our whole being – cultivating the ability to enjoy life as opposed to just doing what needs to be done.
Why does Self-Nourishment drop so easily from our day-to-day practice then? Because, by nature, it is easy to forget to do feel-good things when we are already feeling good. Many self-nourishing practices take time to develop and the reason we commit in the first place is because we want to feel better. Then when we are feeling good we stop doing those things because we don’t need them and don’t have time. We haven’t really committed to them for a lifetime like we may have done with our Self-Care practices.
Or they may be a beautiful practice but they are just a little bit tiring. Those can drop off easily when times get busy or we are a little down on our energy. Differentiating what our motivations are will help us know why we do what we do and create a more relevant commitment to them in our lives. End result? We will be way less likely to let them drop.
- What is Self-Care – what keeps the machine/body going? These are practices that you know you need to do to keep yourself functioning. The gym might be one.
- What is Self-Nourishing – totally selfishly fulfilling? These might be optional, but they nourish our soul. These may overlap with your Self-Care but they have a deeply personal feel. (I wrote more about these here.)
- What fills our cup – but requires an energy commitment in return? These are things we love doing but take energy from us. We need to be mindful of these in our life even if they fill our soul.
Bear in mind, sometimes practices that help others can be the reverse for us. For example, if you can’t sit quietly and breathe without feeling anxious there is no point in trying to commit to a sitting meditation practice no matter how much you want to. Consider a walking or running mantra meditation or perhaps a seated guided meditation. Over time your anxiety will abate through the meditation practice and perhaps a sitting meditation will become part of your day. Or not. It’s all good – whatever works for you!
My everyday Self-Nourishing includes such things as yoga and breathing, writing, puppy walks. A quiet cup of tea. Mindful moments sprinkled into my day. Lying on the grass. Reading. Cooking. Veggie gardening. Occasional baths. And my art. Some of those are also Self-Care and are non-negotiable. But most I can be flexible about – as long as they regularly feature in my life.
There are other things that fill me completely, like playing with my Grandkids. But for me, especially as an introvert, it also expends energy and so while it fills my cup to overflowing it is a different practice to pure Self-Nourishing. (However, I know, for the more extroverted, it might totally be a dose of Self-Nourishment! And others may find it totally exhausting and instead want very small doses. Each to their own.)
Self-Nourishing practices are a simple way to step into a space of personal responsibility. It does not matter how small an action it is – an everyday Self-Nourishing morning cup of tea may only take 5 minutes but it can make all the difference to a busy life filled with others. So little time – but committing to it each day can offer an opportunity to reconnect leaving us feeling empowered and in charge of our life.
So, what is a tiny new Self-Nourishing habit you could commit to today?
Choose one and then, using the concept of Habit Stacking, build it into your life. Habit Stacking is an effective way to start a new habit. Basically, it is simply adding a new and desirable habit to an existing one. So, for example, if you want to start journalling and always have a tea or a coffee before your day starts then you could pop your journal beside your cup to remember to use it as you enjoy your morning cuppa.
Or if you want to add in a moment to love your-self up put some affirmations beside your toothbrush. That will remind you to use that time to give yourself some self-loving both before the day starts and as the day ends (instead of mindlessly ruminating).
Remember it takes a good couple of months to set a new habit so set whatever reminders you need and let yourself play and see what happens!
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