For many the concept of self-nurturing may seem like a very foreign concept. I know for me it has been a process of unfoldment over the past few years, to get to the stage now where I know what nurturing is for me and can easily incorporate it into my day, if I so choose to (which I do every day now!). I am constantly discovering more ways that I can do this, and support myself in the way that I live everyday.
A few years ago the concept of self-care, let alone self-nurturing was completely foreign to me. I was a University student and young adult working part-time, partying and going out with friends. I was often exhausted and drained, and experienced/created a lot of strong emotional baggage. I was essentially living the life I thought was normal.
I received a few wake-up calls however from some very wise people in my life. They supported me to come to the understanding of how exhausted I was and why – hardly surprising given my years of work and study, and how I was in them (i.e. constantly racing from one thing to the next). From this I have been on my own path with healing the exhaustion and learning to live in a way that actually supports me to live and do the work I so love doing.
What I developed on this path was a way to actually care for myself, which was essentially making choices that allowed me to not get so exhausted and cope with everyday life.
Now, I’m fairly sure I can speak for everyone when I say that we would definitely like to operate at a level much higher than ‘coping’ in everyday life, and this is where self-love comes in. Making self-loving choices, as opposed to self-caring choices means that we go to the next level of honouring who we are, that goes beyond basic function. In order to do this there is some experimentation that needs to happen – as what is self-loving for one person at one time, may well be different for the person next to them at that time. This is why it is important to have a connection with ourselves, our own bodies, so we can find out what is honouring of ourselves and what is not.
How do we find out what is honouring? We need to look at how we feel, and this is where the experimentation comes in. We need to approach situations, foods, drinks and interactions with an openness to feeling how our body feels, what our mood is like afterwards and the kinds of thoughts we have thereafter.
For example if we stay out late and feel quite tired, then take a while to recover the next day, being grumpy with our loved ones around us, we could feel as to whether that was honouring of our body or not. There of course will be times where staying up late is unavoidable, but being open to experimenting with earlier nights VS our usual later nights is a great place to start in this experimentation process.
Then we come to self-nurturing, which is part of the activity of self-love. When we do things we know are not only supportive, but actually self-loving, we can look at them as self-nurturing. This for example could be committing to moisturising our entire body after having a shower, with loving strokes and appreciating our body, because we know that our body really loves this and is very much supported by touch.
It could be allowing the space to make a meal that you know your body really loves, and will sustain it through the day. Equally allowing the space to go for a walk after a long day at work – as this movement can really support our body to let go of the tension and stress built up, as opposed to sitting down for a drink or watching hours of TV. These changes may sound simple, but are things we can often overlook the importance and power of, when living each day with ourselves.