The evidence has been in for years that focusing on your well-being is one of the best investments you can make. And yet, so many of us are just not making that investment, or we’re barely making it.
What’s worse is that we’re telling ourselves some pretty crazy stories about why that is.
I don’t have time. (Or someone else needs my time.)
My job is just too busy. I need to be in the office all the time just to keep up.
My family has a full plate. I never stop.
I need to keep up this pace if my business is going to thrive. I don’t need sleep; I need to get things done.
Everyone I know is just as stressed as I am. That’s life.
It’s selfish to focus on myself when so much is happening “out there”.
I cringe every time I hear these things. Because too many people believe these thoughts without stopping to examine whether any of it is true.
We’re feeling the repercussions, too. Individually and collectively. In a world where prioritizing practical self care can feel impractical, indulgent or even impossible, I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible and do-able, it is essential.
True self care is about nourishment and too few of us are taking good care of ourselves.
Many of us are seriously confused about what it even means to nourish– to thrive and not just survive.
Here’s what we’re doing instead:
- Talking about self care as scheduling in some spa pampering and a mani-pedi, or “treating ourselves” to a little luxury and calling it good (ladies, I am looking at you).
- Checking off a list of the “10 things highly productive people do to start their day” and pushing to get them all done (or feeling guilty and unworthy that we’re not doing them all).
- Practicing what I call surface care while avoiding what we sense we might really need (or talking ourselves out of it).
- Overloading our to-do lists, saying yes to everything and beating ourselves up when we can’t juggle like circus professionals.
- Waiting until we’re stressed or sick or on the edge of burnout before we check in with what we might actually want and need.
It’s crazy when you think about it.
How you nourish yourself– which is “self care” in the most basic sense and what sustainable well being requires– is the foundation of how everything else in your life functions.
It is THAT important.
What does it mean to truly nourish yourself? More importantly, how can you do it, regularly, habitually, religiously?
I encourage you to let go of any old ideas about what’s possible, what’s practical and what’s necessary and create a naturally occurring habit of truly nourishing your mind, body and spirit. Get back to basics. And then start to create an environment that supports you in that mission.
You don’t need me to tell you that you need it. You know.
Finding what’s nourishing to you is a process of learning, practice and reflection. It’s an inside job. And it doesn’t haven’t to be difficult or time-consuming. In fact, it’s usually not either of those things.
Here’s an easy way to get started:
Start with the four pillars of nourishment
When choosing ways to nourish yourself, you can keep coming back to this very basic list. Pick something in each category and make a shift. That might be adding something and it might be subtracting something. The question is always “what feels nourishing?”
- Your mind
- Your body
- Your spirit
- Your environment
Think like a minimalist
There is no need to do all the things. Please stop doing all the things (and expecting those around you to match you in doing all the things). Experimenting with the minimum effective dose in each of your pillars will give you a basic foundation of deep nourishment, without the drama. You can always add more later, and you’ll probably want to do that. First, build the habit.
Do what you enjoy
Be willing to tune into– and trust– your own damn self. It doesn’t matter how “good for you” a practice is or which expert recommends it or who thrives on doing (or not doing) that practice; if you don’t enjoy it and it feels like a chore, it is not nourishing you.
That goes for exercise, for building a career, for fueling your body with food, for lifestyle choices– you name it. Let it feel good.
When you nourish your body, mind, spirit and environment in this way, you start to create an unshakeable foundation of well being that fuels everything you do. You gain clearer self awareness. And you become more masterful at opting for choices, habits, activities, relationships, jobs and decisions that will help you thrive, and saying no where you need to say no.
The result? You’re less stressed. Less resentful. Less overwhelmed. You’re more productive. More effective. More creative. More energized. More present. More grounded. More clear.
Thriving. That’s what I want for you, and for all of us.
I am doubling down on this right now because it’s so so necessary.
If you’d like to join me, check out NOURISH, a new self-guided program to help you commit yourself to simple self-care strategies that work for your busy life. It’s coming this fall. Learn more here.
Photo: Brigitte Tohm/Unsplash