“it’s important to take some time out and nurture yourself”
I found myself torn between wholehearted agreement, maniacal laughter, and the thought of a good cry. You see, it’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones, where there’s so much going on in your world you aren’t sure if you can take much more.
It all started Saturday night with an incident at my grandmother’s long-term care home. Instead of heading to bed for a good night’s sleep, I was heading in to talk with the staff. One of the things I do consistently as part of my ‘nurture yourself’ plan is to get a good night’s sleep every night, especially before a big day, but that wasn’t what was in store for me.
The following day was Canada Day, filled with plenty of activity. While each individual activity was something that I was looking forward to, trying to pack them all into one day was too much and made it all feel like a big rush with no time to stop, breath, and enjoy the moment. Not the most relaxing weekend and I learned something new to add to my nurture yourself plan – leave lots of room in your schedule for joy.
Little J was off of school for 2 days this week, shortening my work week to just 3 days. Prepping for and performing in a 4-night bellydance show, plus 2 daytime shows this weekend is a lot to add to my already full regular schedule. My step-dad suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and while it seems that he’s going to be OK, being at a distance and unable to stick my oar in and help was a challenge. Doing my best to be of assistance at a distance plus communicating with our big international circle of friends, family and colleagues has been a big energetic focus of my week.
All in all, it’s been pretty crazy. Not a lot of time and space for that whole nurture yourself idea.
As I’ve paused today to reflect on my week, I’ve realized that in amidst the busyness of this week, with all of it’s stressful moments, my time and energy being pulled in countless directions, and extra activities to fit into my schedule, I’ve actually done a pretty good job of keeping my ‘nurture yourself’ activities high on the priority list.
And, as I look at my week, it’s remarkable how great I’m feeling today. Happy, energized, and looking forward to a weekend filled with fun and laughter. I am grateful for my nurture yourself action plan, and how it’s helped me to keep calm, centered, and able to handle everything life has thrown at me lately.
If you’ve been reading carefully, you might have realized that I actually have a ‘nurture yourself’ action plan. If you don’t have one, it’s time to pull out a pencil and paper and create one for yourself. What might go into a nurture yourself action plan? It’s easy! Make a list of all of the things you already know you are doing, or can do to take care of yourself on a regular basis. They might be obvious things like having a massage, but they might be less obvious or less conventional things too. For example, part of my ‘nurture yourself action plan’ is to cook healthy foods for myself on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean I need to prepare every meal (that would be more stressful than nurturing) but it does mean that I know that cooking is something that makes me feel good, relaxes me, and helps me to process everything that’s going on around me.
Helpful Suggestions for Your Nurture Yourself Activity List
- Body care – massage, chiropractic and other services that take care of your physical body are great ways to nurture yourself now that have great pay-off long-term.
- Spa services – one of my favorite ways to nurture yourself! Whether it’s something simple like a pedicure or more involved like a full body wrap, treating yourself regularly to time at the spa is excellent self-care.
- Exercise – making physical movement a priority is an important way to nurture yourself. Exercise causes all sorts of chemical and hormonal reactions in your body that are designed to reduce stress and boost your mood. Plus, there’s all those added long-term physical benefits.
- Meditation, prayer or other quiet time – never underestimate the value of silence in your nurture yourself action plan. What do you love to do to be quietly with your own thoughts?
- Doing what you love – we all spend so much time doing the things we need to do to live a full and productive life. It’s important as you nurture yourself to make sure you build in time to do what you love. Tap into creativity through dancing, drawing, painting or other art forms. Take up a class and learn something you’ve always wanted to do.
Once you’ve got all of your nurture yourself activities written down, make a commitment to doing them on a regular basis. You need to nurture yourself every single day, so commit to doing one of those activities every day…or maybe more. When you nurture yourself on a regular basis, the habit becomes so ingrained that you just naturally do these things for yourself, even in times of stress. Those nurturing activities make it easier to deal with the outside stresses, to handle them better than you might otherwise.
Now, I’m off to bake some healthy and delicious sunflower cookies to bring for tonight’s back-stage treats table. While it might sound like work, being in the kitchen and making something that is both healthy and delicious is one of my favorite ways to nurture yourself.
What’s your favorite way to nurture yourself? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
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