Is it just me, or is everyone talking about themselves? We are going through a social awakening, and people are changing the way they relate to the world.
Frankly, I think we are getting tired of overwork, hustle culture, and missing out on the things that really matter.
One of the skills I’ve been developing over the past few years is the ability to nurture myself. As I quit my job and started a business, all while trying to be the best dad I could be, this got harder and harder.
If you’re looking for ways to nurture yourself, I want to talk to you. In this post, I’ll give you 7 underrated ways to nurture yourself.
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We breathe all the time. All day. every day. But we very rarely breathe deeply.
This sounds sort of flaky, but it made a difference in my life.
Inevitably, when we get stressed our breath is shallow. And fast. Your heartbeat goes up.
So one of the things that you must do if you want to nurture yourself is to stop and take a deep breath every once in a while.
For me, this goes beyond just taking ten deep breaths. I’ve learned to meditate (using Headspace) and I love doing Yoga, which also comes with deep breathing.
AND I do deep breathing exercises with my daughter, who struggles with anxiety. It makes a huge difference.
2. Listen to yourself
There’s a famous quote by the motivational speaker, Les Brown.
Les says, “Most people are governed by their habits, their fears, and the opinions of others.”
The first time I read that, it struck me pretty hard. Because like so many people, I spent the first part of my life worrying way too much about what other people thought about me.
The older I get, there’s a beautiful release. I just don’t give a crap.
I’ve watched so many people grow into their thirties and forties and realized that they have listened to everybody else except for themselves.
- They got the degree somebody told them to get.
- They got the job someone told them to get.
- They got the spouse someone told them to get.
- They got the house someone told them to get.
Basically, they’ve spent their entire life listening to other people’s opinions.
And all of a sudden, they wake up in a life that isn’t theirs.
If you truly want to nurture yourself, start listening to your own voice. It doesn’t mean you never consider what other people say. But trust your voice.
And if you are taking advice, make sure it’s coming from the right type of person. If you look at the person giving you advice and you don’t want to be where they are, ignore their advice.
It took me most of my life to get consistent at exercising. I was always an active teenager, skateboarding, rock climbing, and stuff like that.
But as an adult, I got out of the habit of it.
I’m in my late 30s now, and I started to realize something. Health at this age is a fight. And the battles I fight today will make a difference in my life when I’m 80.
If you’re young, you might get away without exercising for a while.
But as you get older, living an active life becomes as important as saving for retirement.
Exercise is the one thing that has been proven again and again to increase your lifespan.
It took me about 6 months of work to get addicted to working out. Every morning, I dropped my kids off at school and then go straight to the gym for an hour.
It’s made a huge difference.
Here are a few tips to make it work:
- Find something you actually love doing. There are a lot of ways to exercise. If you hate jogging, don’t force yourself to jog.
- Find a way to fit it into your schedule. Don’t expect to be able to get up 2 hours earlier and go to the gym at 5:00 a.m.
- Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable.
- Force yourself to stick with it at the beginning. It gets easier as you go.
4. Believe in your future
A few years ago, someone I love was ruining their life.
They were drinking themselves to death, developing serious health problems in the process.
I realized something.
It’s ridiculously easy to tell people to take care of themselves. You can give them all the self-nurturing tips you want.
But at the end of the day, if they have nothing to live for, they won’t care.
That’s why I firmly believe that if you want to nurture yourself, having a vision for the future has to be part of it.
I don’t care what it is. But nurturing yourself requires having something to live for. If you don’t, all of the tips won’t matter.
In the famous words of Victor Frankl, “The one who has a why to live for, can bear with almost any how.”
One of the best ways I know to nurture yourself is through learning.
In part, this is because of the psychological effects of learning itself. Research shows that when we go into a flow state, it produces pretty fantastic results.
But the other reason to learn is linked to the point above. When you’re learning new things, you are signaling that you believe in your future. You are making investments in yourself.
Learning valuable new skills, for example, opens the doorway to making more money or creating a better life.
Learning things for fun helps your mind expand and reduces stress.
No matter what it is, learning should be a part of nurturing yourself.
Another quote from my favorite motivational speaker, Les Brown. He always says, “You should surround yourself with OQP. Only quality people.”
When you think about it, the people around you have a huge impact on your ability to nurture yourself. If you have people in your life who stress you out, talk down to you, bully you, or just bring you general chaos, it’s time to set up a boundary of some sort.
Limit the amount of time you spend with them. Find ways to say no to them.
This is easier said than done. Often the people who bring us the most chaos can be the ones we are most tied to. People in our family. Close friends.
Sometimes it’s impossible to cut people up completely. And I’d be a heartless jackass if I told you to stop talking to your mom.
But nurturing yourself means finding ways to create boundaries. If you know that your mom calls every morning at 9:00 a.m. to complain and it stresses you out, try leaving your phone at home for the morning.
Little acts like this create boundaries that can change your behaviors and outcomes.
7. Learn self-care
Self-care has become almost a buzzword. But that doesn’t make it any less important.
Nurturing yourself requires self-care. This will look different depending on who you are. For me, self-care often means having a bath or reading enough.
Some people like to go to the spa. Some people get their nails done. Some like to buy a new outfit.
Find the thing that works for you. But do practice self-care.
At the end of the day, nurturing yourself is about more than manicures and bubble baths. Nurturing yourself means recognizing what’s good for you, what brings you joy, and what helps you become the best version of who you are.
If you can get these things right. You’ll be on a fantastic path. If you miss them, all the bubble baths in the world won’t fix it.