TIME OUT: Self-nurturing is key to physical and mental wellbeing
“ I CAN'T stop working. Things will fall apart if I do.”
“There’s no time for the gym — I don’t want to take away from relaxation time when I’m not working.”
“I don’t need to eat healthy — I feel fine. And anyway, I want to actually enjoy what I eat.”
“I’m not a child, I don’t need to be told how to live my life.”
These are among some of the most often repeated things people say when confronted about the need to better look after themselves and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Often the people who say these things are oblivious to the health dangers of regular long working hours with little sleep or relaxation, lack of exercise or a convenience food diet that is high in sugar, fat and salt.
Yet daily nurturing self care is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mind and body.
If you’re telling yourself that you’re too busy to look after your diet, rest or take regular exercise then the chances are, you really do need to take the time out to self-nurture.
People who say they are too busy are the ones most often at risk of things like high blood pressure, obesity, depression and anxiety.
And, if you are someone who does find the time to look after yourself, it’s a good idea to improve what you do.
Why bother to take the time out to nurture ourselves when there’s so much to do?
You may think it’s a great idea but one that is easier said than done if you are in a demanding job, have young children to look after, or are studying for important exams.
When we nurture ourselves, we develop the strength to show up for our lives and who we really want to be.
Creating time each day to just focus on yourself and step out of busy routine allows us to revitalise and rejuvenate.
When you are rejuvenated, it’s much easier to harness the energy to accomplish things on your daily to do list.
You’ve probably heard many people say that when they’re not tired or stressed or worried about something that’s facing them, they get things done a lot faster and more effectively.
Another benefit is that when you take the time to nurture yourself, you are much better placed to tap into the intuitive guidance that we all need, every day, to help us deal with some of the challenges that life often throws up.
But you only find that inner wisdom when you make time for yourself.
So it is hugely important to make sure that you do.
Nurturing yourself on a daily basis will help you feel clear, calm, focused, happy, and satisfied. And when you feel good, life gets a whole lot easier.
Here are some of the many ways you can start to nurture yourself and in the process improve your physical and mental well-being and those around you in life.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
If you are one of those people that grabs meals for one or snack foods when you are hungry, aim to put a stop to this. Make the time to cook from scratch. This will always be better than the ready made meals you reach for on a supermarket shelf. Love your body by nourishing it and filling it with tons of nutrients.
CREATE A SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
If you are single don’t just spend all your time with just your family if you have one or close friends. While they are of course very important, reaching out to other people who may be having the same challenges as you can also be a big help and can be the source of new ideas and solutions to problems. Allow others to help you with your struggles.
CREATE A DAILY RITUAL THAT WORKS FOR YOU
This could include yoga, meditation, a walk, jogging, writing a diary, creating art, listening to music, or having a meal at a certain time. The idea is to keep it simple, enjoyable and achievable.
Don’t ignore the importance of comforting yourself. This could include anything from comfy clothes that you can lounge around in, a warm bath, a healthy treat, curling up with a book or catching up with a favourite TV programme.
Do what works for you. Commit to it and enjoy. The effect will be well worth it.
■ Chuka Menkiti is an award winning freelance writer