We nurture others by our nature. Watch any parent with their kids (even the grown-up ones) and you’ll see human nurture in action. If we’re so good at providing support for those we love, why is it such a struggle to nurture ourselves? And would you even know how to start to nurture your mindset? Surely that requires lots of spare time and that’s something we are always keen to fill for others, not ourselves. Being serious about providing nurture for your own mindset is a commitment that’s going to initially feel uncomfortable for many. That’s why it is so often moved to the bottom of the list of your priorities.
The definition of nurture is to care for (or protect) someone or something , while they are growing.
We nurture so many people in our daily lives, from children to parents, from co-workers to the MD, that it can seem like this is an action we carry out for others, not our selves. This is an oversight that has far-reaching implications. Including the message it gives to the very people we nurture; that looking after our own needs is somehow selfish. That nurture of self is less important than it actually is. In truth, much like the request at the start of every flight, that you place the oxygen mask on yourself before you children, in an emergency, the self-nurturing enables you to better support others.
How do you care for yourself?
Creating a care-plan for yourself might feel like a grand and over-the-top gesture. Until, that is, you acknowledge how often you get to the end of the day, or even the week, and notice you have done nothing to nurture your mindset. A week will pass, then a month and before you know it you’re seeing all the reasons that you ‘don’t have time’ and if feels too huge to challenge your mindset on this. How’s that working out for you?
Today is a great day to start a new, positive habit and create a plan to nurture your mindset. Here are the first steps:
- 1. Start with ONE small thing. It’s so easy to set yourself up to fail on this. You are already going to be resisting the change and you will find your head-talk is just looking for the chance to tell you that you’re too busy for yourself. So, pick something small as your first daily ‘nurture me’ moment. I suggest you allow ten minutes.
- 2. Breathe. Deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. I know, you know how to breathe. The thing is we do it without thinking, without being present. Pausing the crazy hamster-wheel speed that you work and think at to notice your breathing is powerful. As you hear yourself doing the ‘I don’t have time’ for your nurture, take three deep breaths as described, and see how it grounds you and helps re-address the story you are telling yourself.
- 3. Accept nurture from others. This is often a tricky thing to embrace; particularly if you’re telling yourself you ‘should’ be doing something more important. You can decide to stop this conversation. I know, if it was easy you’d have done that by now. There is no time like today, so start again and allow someone who loves and cares about you to show you some nuture.
Nurture can be a group activity!
There are several ways that we can start a habit of nurture. Once you accept that it can be a group activity, there are lots more opportunities to nurture your mindset than you might think. Including others will mean you are more likely to make the commitment, so start looking for topics that interest you and how you could make these part of a routine of nurture. Online activities have grown so much in the last 12 months, and you may be surprised by the scope of inclusive, nurturing groups available.
- From book clubs to knitting groups, gardening enthusiasts to virtual choirs, there are plenty of people who have already started the habit of supporting their mindset during the past year and most will make new people very welcome. Allowing yourself this connection with others who have identified how to engage to do something that makes them feel good will enhance your ability to do this for own benefit. Ask friends what they’ve added to help them cope with the challenges we are all facing.
If you are looking for ways to nurture yourself without using the internet, then get out into nature and spend time without looking at your watch or thinking about your next appointment. If that’s a challenge with the current lock-down conditions, then bring nature in by getting out old photos and putting them where you are reminded of the feelings those places create for you. It’s a powerful thing to be grateful for the experiences you’ve had, and can help you to think about making new ones in the future too.
How are you protecting your mindset?
If part of nurture is to protect, then you could do with looking at how you are protecting your mindset. Take a look at my blogs on creating your own timeline, or listen to my January series of Podcasts on this topic. Protecting our mindset is about ensuring less interaction with the people, and things, that reinforce a negative message. We can protect our wellness and personal mindset by setting boundaries and ensuring we stick to them.
We can also choose to protect ourselves by changing the story we keep repeating about being too busy for this ‘self care stuff’. Building time into our schedule every day for nourishment and nurture is one of the best ways I know to protect myself from getting over-tired. If you are prone to over-working, then it’s worth addressing why you are choosing to put yourself at the bottom of your list consistently.
Take action today
If you’re ready to give yourself the best foundations and greatest chance of making it through change, then I urge you to get your calendar out and put some Nurture Time in your diary for the week ahead. Ten minutes a day will do it. Remember you’ll be more likely to do it if you start small.
Let me know how you get on. And do share your tips on how you can nurture your mindset.