My last post talked about being self-compassionate. I’d like to elaborate on the thoughts we talked about and introduce some self-nurturing activities. In the Behaviour-Thinking-Feeling triangle, today is about behaviour. I think if we can combine our thinking and behaviour that our feelings about ourselves will change. This is extremely important if we feel badly about ourselves; if we continually put ourselves down, it is going to have a negative effect on our feelings. We will likely feel down/depressed or even angry with ourselves as well as being anxious about the things we do–like socializing, performing or even working.
We might even feel some anxiety over being self compassionate and participating in self-nurturing activities. That would be understandable if we think of these things as being selfish or self-indulgent. It may go directly against our morals or values that we have about ourselves and our participation in life activities. If we have always been taught to be considerate towards others at the expense of our own needs, we will likely struggle with the concepts of self-compassion and self-nurturing. The tricky thing here is that if we don’t take of ourselves, we will burn out and not be of any use to others. Taking care of yourself is paramount for taking care of others.
So, what does it mean to self-nourish? Well, it means doing things for yourself that you find soothing and enjoyable. It will mean different things to different people and what one person finds nourishing (ie. gardening), another (like myself, in this instance) might find anxiety-provoking. While I might enjoy reading, someone else could find this activity riddled with anxiety. I was able to find a pdf that lists a large number of self-nurturing activities. It is in no way exhaustive; you can certainly make your own list. In fact, I encourage you to do so! Try fitting one self-nourishing activity into your day to begin with and gradually increase to several times a day either with the same or a different activity. The idea is that you will begin to feel better about yourself if you combine self-compassionate thinking with a nurturing activity. Here is the link to the list.
Copy down the ones that you identify with or print out the list and highlight those you think you’d like to try. One a day. Pick a really simple one if you are struggling with this topic. If you need to, break one down into smaller steps. For example, writing is a soothing activity for me but when I’m struggling, I might only be able to find a pen or pencil or set my laptop on the couch or table. Maybe later in the day, or even the next day, I will pick the pen up or open my laptop, and so on. Maybe it takes you a week, but one small step everyday will get you there. You’ve got this and you are worth it!