Several years ago, I was overwhelmed as I faced many personal challenges and searching for answers. Quite frankly, I was stuck in a rut and not sure what way to turn. I was almost paralyzed with fear as I faced health issues, a career I was no longer passionate about and relationship issues. Things seemed so desperate that I even got to the point of questioning my faith.
I decided it was time to get control, to transform myself and my life and to turn things around. I sat down, took a thorough inventory of my life, examined my goals and aspirations. I soon realized that I needed to change my identity to one that more closely aligned with my natural core self, who I really am, what I am good at and naturally talented in, and what you really want in life. I read everything I could on subjects related to self-improvement, physical fitness and health, and personal development. I returned to my martial arts training, started to meditate, and discovered yoga and meditation.
Through focus and determination and hard work, I was able to turn things around. Today I am proud to say that I am leading a more fulfilling, vibrant, happier, compassionate and rewarding life. My health has greatly improved – through a focus on nutrition, fitness, healthier diet. My mind is more focused and receptive to new ideas. My spirituality has been strengthened. More grateful.
Now since most of us have many responsibilities and limited time, I recommend engaging in self-nurturing activities that give us the biggest bang for our buck. Since we recognize that our minds, bodies and spirits are connected, it is important to find ways to nurture ourselves that feed all three. When we do, we elevate our experience to one of sacred self-care.
The following are several ways that I continue to nurture my mind, body and spirit:
Research shows that meditation has incredible benefits for the mind, body and spirit. Recent studies show that meditation is as helpful for decreasing depression as medication and lowers the stress response in the body. As we know, people have been nurturing their spirits for thousands of years with meditation. And as a bonus when we regularly mediate we become more self-aware and thus make healthier choices for ourselves.
Whether you are a seasoned mediator or just beginning, include the following self-nurturing practice in your day: Pause and breathe in and out intentionally a few times. Bringing the spirit of curiosity rather than judgment, check in with your body for any discomfort or tension you may feel; return to your breath for a few cycles; then notice your thoughts and without chasing after them, label them: planning, worrying, regretting, etc.; then return to your breath for a few more cycles. Meditation allows you to connect intentionally with your mind, body and spirit and nurtures vibrant health.
- Get Out In Nature
Most people experience a deep sense of peace being out in nature and report that nature nourishes their minds, bodies and spirits effortlessly. Nature connects us with our whole selves and invites us into the present moment. Watching the clouds, listening to the birds and seeing the beauty all around us fuels a sense of gratitude and deep appreciation for being alive. We often exercise while in nature which also fuels our vibrant health. Even if you live in an urban setting, taking a few minutes to walk outdoors, noticing the trees, plants and life around you can refresh and rejuvenate you!
- Cultivate Your Gratitude Practice
Acknowledging the blessings in our lives is deeply nourishing for our minds, bodies and spirits. Create a practice for sharing what you are grateful for both individually and with your family and friends. There are so many ways to express your gratitude including journaling, keeping a gratitude jar in your home or office for people to write down what they are grateful for and then place in the jar, and sharing your gratitude at meals, meetings and other gatherings. Notice how your mind, body and spirit respond when you approach the world with a grateful heart. Gratitude promotes vibrant health!
- Be Creative
Like being in nature, creativity connects and nourishes our minds, bodies and spirits in a joyful easy way. Expressing our creativity is a wonderful self-nurturing practice. There are infinite ways to nurture yourself with creativity including drawing, coloring, collaging, painting, creating an alter, decorating your home or office, gardening, writing, dancing, singing and/or playing an instrument. You do not need to identify as an artist to nurture yourself with creativity. You only need to allow yourself to express your authentic truth and beauty!
- Write A Love Note
I am a big believer in the nurturing practice of expressing love to yourself and others! Writing love notes is a fun and nurturing way to spread love and kindness in the world. Start by writing a love note to yourself, acknowledging your love and appreciation for you. This may be a challenge for some, but I promise it will be a healing experience and an excellent reminder when you are feeling down or unwell. Next leave a love note for your beloved family member and/or friend and let them know how much they mean to you.
You can expand this practice out into the world and paint love note signs and leave them at parks, on nature trails or anywhere in public to spread love and positivity. Some of the signs I have painted say: you are loved, you matter, cultivate peace and joy, hope, believe in possibility, and you are enough. I find being creative and encouraging others with love notes to be deeply nurturing for my mind, body and spirit!
- Mindfully Eat Food You Love
The practice of mindful eating is not only empowering, but also very nourishing to your mind, body and spirit. Research shows that eating mindfully supports healthy food choices, creates more awareness of portion size, reduces overeating and increases our appreciation of food. Embracing the practice of mindfulness when eating food you love is even more meaningful. To start, decide to eat one meal without distractions of technology or phones and bring your total awareness and all your senses to the experience of eating. Notice the difference that it makes to be fully present while eating!
Having unstructured and unscheduled time to play is so important for our vibrant health. Whether you are playing board games, a sport, or playing on the floor with children or your dog, allowing yourself time to play and be in the moment is essential for living with more peace and joy. So give yourself permission today to play!
Empower yourself with these seven nurturing practices to embrace feeling vibrantly healthy. Try one each day and reflect on the difference it makes to your overall health and wellness.
The thing about self-care is that it is a practice that requires you choosing to do it. It will not happen unless you intentionally make space for it. But the result is worth the effort. With a bit of self-care, you can experience more joy, rest, and soul-health.
May you embrace the practice of self-nurturing to support your vibrant health and may you live authentically in truth and beauty nurturing peace and joy in the world from the inside out!