How often do you spend time nourishing yourself?
In this busy age it is easy to push our needs aside as we contend with the myriad of urgent and important tasks that demand our attention. As a result, we can end up feeling constantly “switched on,” like a hamster stuck on a lab wheel.
In the process, our bodies get flooded with adrenalin and stress hormones as we constantly live in a state of ‘flight or fight.” Getting stuck in this mode can throw our systems out of balance and leave us feeling burnt out and unhappy.
So, tune in and see if you can relate…
Do you experience tension, headaches, digestive or sleep disturbances, immune problems, moodiness or difficulty concentrating? Have you noticed changes in some of your behaviours such as indulging in more coffee, sugar or stimulants to keep you going or a few extra glasses of wine, chocolate or more TV to help you wind down?
We all have our favourite ways of self-soothing, but how nourishing are yours? Do they bring you closer to vitality and happiness or are they depleting, contributing to even more imbalance in your life?
The key to restoring vitality starts with invigorating the soul with lashings of love. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
1. Get unplugged. Tune out to technology. Our phones, text messages, emails, social media, the internet and television are often our go to devices to fill in moments of stillness. But being constantly connected over-stimulates the brain, exacerbating burnout and fatigue. Instead, take some time to do something that is meaningful (see below).
2. Choose from Mother Nature’s pantry. When feeling depleted it’s easy to reach for carbohydrate, sugar and fat rich comfort foods. While these may cheer us up momentarily, they can leave us feeling emotionally and physically heavy. Instead, nourish yourself with wholesome foods that are close to their natural form. Get creative in preparing a dish that tantalizes your senses and your soul.
3. Move your body. Our bodies are designed to move. Sitting at a computer, in a car or on a couch can create restlessness and agitation. So shake off stale and negative energy and get your body moving. Whether it’s a run, walk, gym workout, yoga or bike ride, your heart and lungs will pump, you will feel strong and energised and will be flooded with feel good endorphins.
4. Take a break from perfectionism. Perfectionism is a form of self-abuse. Getting caught up in lofty expectations (shoulds, musts and ought tos) is exhausting. Falling short is usually accompanied by self-recrimination, leaving you feeling broken and defeated. Instead practice letting go, and cherish the freedom it brings. Be realistic in what’s needed, get grounded in the present, speak to yourself with love and remind yourself you are perfect as you are.
5. Do the things you love. What makes your heart sing? What opens you to joy and creativity? Singing, running, painting, drawing, making music or listening to your favourite playlist? Don’t put your passions off till later. What better way to spend life then doing those things that nourish and uplift the soul. Watch your spirit soar.
6. Connect. Whether it’s hanging out with your partner, friends or family, or snuggling up with your pet, connection opens the heart and enriches the soul. Connecting with others has been shown to be improve physical health and psychological wellbeing. It reduces anxiety and depression, is good for the heart, reduces inflammation, builds the immune system, boosts self-esteem and increases longevity. And if you are connecting intimately with your significant other, you may end up getting a workout and boosting endorphins in the process. What a fun way to do some good for yourself.
7. Indulge your body. Our skin is our largest organ…and a sensitive one at that. When it’s caressed (in just the right way), it’s a recipe for relaxation, rejuvenation and bliss. Touch is soothing, it builds resilience, improves immunity and reduces cardiovascular stress. So reach for a hug or a snuggle. Get a massage, a reflexology treatment or facial. Even savouring the caress of a warm bath can work wonders. When I’m feeling particularly frazzled, I create a party for my senses. I retreat to my bathroom, filled with scented candles and my favourite chillout playlist, and soak in a luxurious bath of epsom salts and essential oils…pure heaven!
8. Enjoy a big belly laugh. Laughter infuses the body, mind and soul with joy. It boosts immunity, is good for the heart, reduces stress and pain, promotes youthfulness, supports depression, reduces blood pressure, it’s re-energising and helps connection with others. So book into see a comedy skit, hire out a funny movie, goof around with some of your friends or lighten up and have a good old laugh at yourself…you will feel amazing!
Author: Donna Warr
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s Own