How do you nurture yourself?
That might feel like a foreign concept to most of you, especially if you’re a wife or a mother because as women, we are taught to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. So that’s what we do! We mind the house, raise the children, do the grocery shopping, cook the meals, and take care of our significant other, all the while trying to maintain balance in our own lives.
We’re the faithful friend when our inner circle needs propping up. We are the person who works tirelessly at making sure that our partner feels loved and cared for. The first ones to ensure that our children feel like they get the attention they need and deserve. We bake casseroles when someone dies and show up to help our aging parents when they need us. The list is endless when you think about it. And then what do we do after we’ve done all that and a little more??? We go to bed, exhausted from the day, and start the whole mundane, yet hectic, routine all over again the next morning asking ourselves if this is all there is to life. Do you feel like you’re on the hamster wheel yet?! Because you are.
Nurturing your own soul doesn’t make you selfish.
It’s taken me a long, long time to realize that I take way better care of other people than I ever do for myself. And while I have a servant’s heart, I often find myself empty when I’ve given all I have to take care of others. Nurturing myself has often felt selfish, and I’ve been accused of that very thing when I’ve had to take a step back to catch my breath. I’m sure you have too! If you’re anything like me, you give and give and give until you can’t possibly give one more thing to anybody else, and before you know it, you find yourself at the end of your rope, feeling like you need a good cry and a long winter’s nap to recover. Nurturing people consumes a lot of energy, and if you are a person who is worn slap out in the right here and now, you are not alone.
That old saying about how we can’t take care of others until we take care of ourselves is true.
In fact, if we nurtured ourselves more often, we would be surprised at how much better we take care of others just by filling up our own tanks! Have you ever been on an airplane? Most of us have. Before the flight takes off, the attendant shows you where each exit is located in the case of an emergency and tells that you that in the event of pressure loss in the cabin, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. And what’s the one thing they instruct you to do? They tell you to place the mask on yourself first before attempting to help others with theirs. Why? Because you could easily lose consciousness in the midst of chaos, and if that happens? You are of absolutely no help to anyone else around you.
How often, in the busyness of everyday life, do you forget to put your own oxygen mask on first?
More often than not, I’m gathering. And if that’s the case, I would encourage you to ask yourself what it is that nurtures you and fills you up when you’re feeling spent. For me, it depends on the situation as to what I feel I need:
Starbucks with a friend.
A hot bubble bath with a smutty People magazine.
Dragging out every marker I have to color an afternoon away (yep, that photo above? I did that!).
Other times, it’s been a walk on the beach by myself, a pedicure at my favorite nail salon, or even a gigantic spoonful of Nutella, which is my biggest guilty pleasure! Every single one of those things I’ve mentioned nurtures me, and while I’ve gotten much better over the years at taking care of myself first, I still don’t take near as much time to do it as often as I should.
Bubble bath after a mani/pedi
I think most of us are nurturers by nature.
We thrive on it, actually. But the thing about taking care of other people is that we end up giving ourselves the crumbs of what’s leftover at the end of the day. And then we start to wonder why we feel overwhelmed. So if you’re feeling like you have nothing left to give, ask yourself what it is you need! And then extend yourself the grace to go do it!
It doesn’t make you selfish.
Nor does it make you petty.
And it definitely doesn’t make you a bad person for doing something nice for yourself.
Instead, look at it as a necessity, and as a gift to yourself, because that’s exactly what it is. It will actually make you a better mother, a better friend, a more loving spouse, and a much more relaxed person overall.
Want to share with me what nurtures you? Feel free to comment below, because inquiring minds always want to know.
Til next time, stay sassy!