Self-Nurture: A Prerequisite to Self-Care

For the longest time, the term 'Self-Care' hasn't quite sat right with me. 

Self-Care has come to mean those things we do to take care of ourselves. Go to the dentist. Get a pedicure. Take a bath. Eat green things.

And you can do all that stuff, while being self-critical and harsh with yourself the entire time.

That woman you see who seems like a Self-Care pro, may hate herself inside and spend all her time on the massage table obsessing over what the masseuse thinks about her back fat.

Self-Care can be just another tool for self-punishment, unless we believe we deserve to be cared for, nurtured, and feel good about ourselves.

That's why I prefer the term Self-Nurture. (Dr. Alice Domar wrote a wonderful book on the subject - a must read!)

Nurture reflects a general attitude toward yourself, an attitude of believing you are worthy of tenderness, and able to provide it to yourself through your thoughts and actions.

So, please, before you go seeking the next 'how to' book or article or expert in the hope of finally feeling happy or thin or confident, pause and ask yourself if you're ready for it.

Are you ready to treat yourself well?

Are you ready to be tender and forgiving when you are less than your best self?

Are you willing to treat yourself with generosity and protect yourself with boundaries?

Self-Nurture is the prerequisite to Self-Care. It can be really hard to stay in a Self-Nurturing frame of mind. It can be really hard to change your habits so that Self-Nurture guides how you spend your time and relate to yourself and others. 

But it's possible, if you take it one day - one moment - at a time.

Self-Nurture is an everyday state of being, not a once in a while treat. 

I recommend that you identify your Minimum Necessary Self-Nurture Practices.

Think of two to three things that you must do daily to in order to feel nurtured, loved, and loyal to your best, truest self. 

Mine, right now, are:

1 - Sleep at least 8 hours
2 - Move my body and pay attention to feeling alive
3 - Read a little something awe-inspiring - a poem, quote, passage

No matter what else I'm doing, I can do my three things, they are my Minimum Necessary Self-Nurture Practices. They remind me that I'm human, that I have limits, and that I have my own ways of feeling like myself that I need to honor. 

So, as you're swirling around within the chaotic routines and potential tensions of the holidays, I hope you will nurture yourself with whatever's on your short list of must-do's. 

With love and optimism,

Dr. J