After close to a decade of being a mom, I realize that the times I enjoy parenting most is when I am nurturing and taking care of myself – not leaving my needs until last.
As we head into a new year it feels like a natural time for evaluating how we've been living, what we want for ourselves and our families. If nurturing yourself is difficult for you, I believe one of the most profound changes you can make is shifting towards the belief that you are valuable and deserving of care and nurture. In 100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child #77 is to show that taking care of yourself is important – this not only sets up your children to take good care of themselves, nurturing yourself also makes it easier to trust yourself and to stay healthy enough to enjoy your kids.
Want to know yourself and be more present in your life?
My friend Shawn of the Abundant Mama Project teaches of the Abundant Mama course – a four week experience to help you become a more centered, peaceful, playful and present mama or papa. I'm an affiliate because I strongly believe in her work and the positive changes she helps parents enact. If you want to be present, to enjoy now, but don't quite know how with all the chaos of this time in life, her project may really appeal to you. Sign up for the upcoming free class and fill your cup. ~Alissa
These journal questions will help you find the best ways to nurture yourself in the year to come.
Some of them are pretty big questions. I've divided them into four groups so you can choose one a day or so, spreading them out over the month. As always, respond to the ones that move you most – by writing, art or mediation.
- Do you feel worthy of nurturing and gentle care? How does it feel to you to say “I am deserving of loving care. I take time to take care of myself.”? Write down an affirmation (either this one or the one that resonates with you) that reminds you that you that you are worthy of gentle nurture and care.
- How can you treat yourself more gently this year? Can you come up with three things you can lighten up on yourself about?
- List: What are 5 or more SIMPLE activities I can do when I need to nurture myself? (Think about what you can do when you're burnt out and low energy – take a bath? drink a cup of tea? walk outside and take a deep breath? What nurtures YOU?)
- Visualize: How can I change my physical space to be more nurturing to me? Let your imagination be over the top, free and big with this. Imagine you are walking in your front door. Your space feels nurturing, comfortable and enlivening. What do you see? How does each room look? Describe the scene – what do you see, hear and feel in your most nurturing home or work space?
- What small habit could you create to remind yourself not to neglect self care? Putting on lotion? Playing your favorite music? Brainstorm a simple ritual that means ‘self care'to you.
Nurturing your Mind
- List: write down 5 activities that bring you mind alive and make you feel interested and engaged.
- What do you not need to stop worrying about – what's taking up extra mental space for no benefit?
- What do you repeatedly re-evaluate in your life? Is it time to let go? What do you need to reevaluate that you've left alone for a long time?
- Where or who do you need to STOP looking to for information this year? What makes you more worried, stressed and uncertain rather than less?
- Would you like to read more this year? What would you like to read?
Nurturing Your Body
- What negative phrase phrase do you tell yourself about your body? Can you think of a positive phrase to replace the negative one? Example: ‘I hate my ugly stretch marks!' replaced with – ‘Thank you belly for holding my babies.' Find phrases that help you eliminate negative self talk.
- List: 10 things your body does that are amazing. Can be as simple as ‘taking this breath right now'. Goal – add to this list over time.
- List: 5 SIMPLE things you can do during your day that nurture your body. These should be things that can be part of your regular routine, like eating breakfast, stepping outside for breaks, that kind of thing.
- How are you sleeping? Can you think of one change you could make to get better sleep this year?
- In my heart I know the one way I can nurture my body most this year is________________.
Nurturing Your Heart and Soul
- Who can you call who makes you feel loved and cared for?
- If you have no one, how could you develop a friendship this year – imagine you have a close confidant – how does that relationship feel? You trust them…they trust you. How do you treat them? What do you share with them?
- Who do you want to surround yourself with this year?
- What social media strings do you need to drop to create a space which nurtures you?
- Visualize: How would you like your relationship to develop with your children this year? Describe how you talk together, how you feel in the same room together and what they'll remember about interacting with you from this year. You may also wish to visualize this about your spouse or partner.
- How is your spirit? Do you long for more connection with God/the Universe/nature? If so, what is one simple way you can invite a deeper spiritual connection into your life?
For more on nurturing yourself: