Guys, I've got a confession to make.
Lately, I haven't been nourishing myself the way I know I should. No, I haven't been shoving my face full of KFC while sharing recipes for kale salads. Minus a few (worth it) splurges for my husband's birthday earlier this week, I've been eating the same plant-centric, whole food diet I preach.
I've been nourishing my body...but not adequately nourishing my soul.
This past month has centered around deadlines, both real and self-imposed. I wake up, work nonstop, cook dinner, work some more, sleep. Although I've managed to squeeze in time for fun, like Saturday trips to Clemson for football and a few outings with friends, the whole time, I felt guilty thinking about what I could accomplish if I was at work.
The truth is, I probably wouldn't be accomplishing much. When you're exhausted and ignoring basic self-care needs, it's impossible to work efficiently. Looking back at my progress on monthly goals, that fact became abundantly clear.
Self-care is a crucial daily activity for living a healthy and vibrant life, but when you're busy, it's easily to view it as just another item on the long to-do list. That's definitely what I did.
Don't make my mistake. Nourishing your soul should be a basic daily habit, like (hopefully) brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.
Self-care can require no more time than brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. While it would be great to have time to take a yoga class or read a few chapters of an inspirational book each day, realistically, most people don't have time for this. Luckily, the most important and effective self-care activities can be done in less than five minutes. Read on to learn five simple daily tasks to nourish your soul...
Practice yoga, meditation or prayer To live a fulfilled and vibrant day, it's important to connect to something greater than yourself each and every day. Yoga, meditation and prayer are three simple ways to achieve that connection. It can be as simple as a five minute morning yoga while still in bed, a minute of deep breathing or stopping to give thanks for your food. These simple activities can have a transformational effect on the day.
Make a real connection. How many times have you gone through the day with only perfunctory conversation? I know I've been especially guilty of this. There have been many nights where Scott and I would simply review our day at work before retiring to the TV or computer. Humans thrive on social connection - it's one of the main reasons we're so successful as a species. Whether it's a spouse, coworker or a complete stranger, try to connect with someone on a deeper level each day. Ask questions. Show genuine interest. People want to talk and open up, so give them that opportunity.
Practice gratitude. Even on the worst of days, there's at least something to be grateful for. If you're reading this on a computer or smart phone, then you should be able to write at least of few pages of things you're grateful for. Our culture tends to focus on achievement, which is a good thing to a degree, but not when it's valued over appreciating what we already have. Each day, write down a couple things you feel grateful for. Keep adding to the list, and eventually, you'll have a novel of gratitude.
Laugh. Heartily. Laughter truly is the best medicine. It's been shown to lower blood sugar, improve immunity, aid sleep, act as a natural painkiller and relive stress. There's a lot to laugh about if you stop and observe what's going on around you, things that are easy to miss when jumping from task to task. Laugh at yourself, laugh with others, just don't laugh at others.
Learn something new. Learning is often thought of as something you need to do for school, work or to accomplish a task. But personally, I think learning is kind of what makes life worth living. If you're not learning something new each day, you're staying stagnant and not allowing yourself to grow as a person. Developing a broad base of knowledge develops a greater understanding of the world and the many different people you share it with. And frankly, learning makes you a deeper, more interesting person. Read the news. Subscribe to wikipedias daily article. Talk to other people and ask questions. While stepping back and observing the world, don't forget to ask yourself, "wait, but why?"
To get myself back on track, I'll be keeping track of these steps in my journal. One thing I've learned - if you don't write it down, it's easy to forget about it. To further keep myself accountable, I'l be sharing my progress on twitter and instagram. If you'd like to join me, tag me and use the hashtag #nourishyoursoul! I'd love to see what's making your soul glow!
On a related note, I'll be taking some time off next week from blogging as I enjoy some family travel time. The past few vacations have been spent with a computer by my side, so in the spirit of nourishing my soul, I think it's time for a well deserved break :) I'll be staying active on twitter and sharing plenty of travel and soul-nourishing pictures on instagram, so make sure to connect with me there!
Tell me, what nourishes your soul?