I had a facepalm moment last weekend.
One of those moments where something someone says finally hits home, even though you’ve heard it many times before.
If you, like me, are on a journey to create a life filled with as much joy as you can handle, then the piece of info that finally landed with me last week will serve you too.
What I’m talking about is the importance of self-care.
More specifically, things that nourish your body, mind and soul.
Now, I know the importance of self-care.
I’m careful about where I expend my energy.
I am practiced in the art of saying no.
But one thing that I’ve really had to work on is learning how to truly nourish myself.
I spent a lot of my early adult years pleasing other people and making sure they were OK, which often left me depleted and unhappy because my own needs weren’t getting met.
Can you relate?
Gradually I learnt to fill myself up first, ask for what I want and need and also make sure my life includes things that GIVE me energy rather than take it away. (Like the work I do, the people I spend time with and even the food I eat.)
But still there are times where I struggle to nourish myself, and forget it’s something I need to actively do (rather than wait for someone else to nourish me in some way).
What the wonderful speaker at the retreat I attended last weekend reminded me is that if I’m feeling drained, confused, uncertain of the way forward or what decision to make, the very first thing we should do, before anything else, is take a step back and NOURISH ourselves.
Nourish means to sustain, to strengthen, to cherish.
Do you know what does that for you? Do you actively care for yourself when you’re feeling depleted or overwhelmed?
I decided to focus more on this nourishment piece, so at the end of my morning meditation I now ask my spirit guides, “What can I do today that will deepen my connection to my own joy?”
Some of the answers may not be what you expect…
- Go and rest today (so I watched back-to-back episodes of Outlander – heaven!)
- Allow your sadness (so had good cry, which released the emotion and made space for joy)
- Remember happy events (brings the feeling of joy almost instantly)
- Be playful in your work (what a fun day this was!)
- Bounce on a trampoline (I can see how this would have been joyful but they failed to share where I was supposed to find a trampoline!)
I share this to point out that the foundations of a joyful life aren’t always to do fun things – although we will have plenty of that thank you very much!
But to make sure you are nourished.
That you treat yourself with care, kindness and compassion.
Or, as a client of mine put it beautifully, you fill yourself up with love first.
When you are feeling low, unhappy, exhausted and joy feels a long way away, how do you nourish yourself in order to bring things back into balance?
If you really want to pay more attention to your own self-care, and increase your energy and joy, then here are four simple steps to get you into action.
- Write a list of 5 to 10 things that give you energy and leave you feeling nourished.
- Grab your diary and schedule in at least three things on your list for the coming week
- Give your energy levels a rating of between 0-100% for the week just gone
- In a week’s time, assess your energy levels again and see if nourishing yourself made a difference (I’m betting it will)
Think of it as an experiment and a reason – if you need one – to give yourself more treats 🙂
If you’re not sure where to start with your list, below are some of my self-care practices:
- Spending time with people I love and who get me
- Walking in nature
- Helping people with my unique talents (working in your zone of genius is like play!)
- Sitting still and resting (often accompanied by one handsome Scot named Jamie Fraser – you gotta watch Outlander!)
- Having time in my week that isn’t scheduled so that I can potter, think and be creative (or just nap)
- Dancing to music (thank you Taylor Swift for making me want to move)
- Cooking myself a nutritious home-cooked meal
- Going on mini-adventures (seeing or doing something new – like visiting lavender fields in the pic above!)
- Gentle exercise (yoga or a walk)
- Journaling (makes me feel centred and grounded to get all my thoughts out onto the page)
- A few minutes of deep breathing
- A massage
Over to you
In the comments below, I’d love you to answer the question, do you truly nourish yourself? If so, what is your top self-care practice? If not, what is one thing you are going to do in the coming week to start making it a priority?
Share the love
I’m sure you know at least one woman (or man) around you who could really do with spending more time filling themselves up first, so please forward this email to them or share this on social media so we can all create the foundations for a life filled with more daily joy.