Written by: Lindsay Buvel
I often talk to colleagues and clients about the importance of nurturing ourselves; however, when prompted to identify ways to practice self-nurturing, I’ve noticed what gets identified are actually self-care tasks. I find that we don’t do a great job of differentiating the two, and when we do it’s hard to actually tease out what practice goes where. While the terms may seem subtle, their acts of practice can be meaningful in how it impacts us in a given moment.
I suggest self-care consists of the basic tasks we need to do in order to care for our essentials: hygiene, meals, sleep, exercise, and so forth. In essence, self-care is what we do to take care of ourselves psychologically and physically.
Self-nurturing consists of emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors one chooses to engage in with intentions towards compassion and growth for the self. Practices associated with self-nurturing offer a sustainability towards a growth-oriented direction in that it fosters a deeper connection with the self.
How do I practice self-nurturance for my mind?
While there are countless ways to practice self-nurturance, here are a few great starters I recommend. Once you find what activities nurture your mind best, you can then make any tweaks that feel purposeful to create your own unique toolbox!
- Practice Mindfulness: Take a deep breath in, exhale out and take in the moment as it is! Mindfulness and meditation can support us in returning to the moment, releasing all needless judgments and welcome calm and peace into our minds. Mindfulness is shown to have a profound impact on our brains and our ability to maintain regulation with a greater sense of gratitude and compassion regardless of the situation.
- Be compassionate towards yourself: Practice holding space for yourself. After all, you are human and flaws are inevitable. Regardless of what it is you’re feeling or thinking, remind yourself you’re doing the best you can (even if that means you needed a few extra days on the couch). We are going to make mistakes and not always get it right and that is okay! Practicing loving-kindness to yourself or holding the perspective a loved one might have towards you can remind us of all the beautiful things about us.
- Positive self-talk: Each of us is our own harshest critic. Without noticing, we often fill our brains with negative self-talk. We then wonder why we are feeling such harsh emotions and why others don’t see us for the bright lights we truly are. Think about a friend you have who is always negative; how eager are you to spend time with them or leap in for a big hug? Through practicing positive self-talk, we communicate to our brains that we are deserving of praise and kindness. This may simply look like, “I’m proud of myself for getting through the day despite how chaotic and stressful it was,” or “It was hard and I got through it the best I could.”
- Lean into your beliefs and values: If you’ve read my other blogs before you’ll know discussion about values is a frequent flyer. That’s because staying aligned with our beliefs and values will naturally lead us to the behaviors that are most meaningful and nurturing to our brains. We get to turn off the autopilot and move with intention towards the direction that makes us feel most satisfied. This will likely lead us to feeling greater connection and love which is fuel for the mind! So what do you care about most in life? Now go towards it!
Be kind to your mind! I encourage all of you to go forth and practice nurturing your mind on top of continuing the self-care tasks that feel most supportive towards you. When you find an activity that feels nurturing, be sure to record it so you can continue to build your tool box and in time you’ll no doubt habitually begin nurturing yourself. You’re on your way to a more balanced and meaningful life and I am excited to continue this nurturing journey with you next week as we discuss how to Nurture the Body!