When things feel tough around you, nurturing yourself can be helpful as a long-term solution to support your mental health.
There may be a time in your life that extra love and support from within can get you through unexpected experiences and challenges.
If you didn’t feel nurturance up to this point, you can still create it for yourself through small, loving actions each day.
Self-care and selfnurturance are related, and you can change the relationship with nurturance at any time.
The goal with nurturance is to feel refreshed, relaxed, and rested once you participate in the activity.
By building up your reservoir of nurturing activities, it can help you to stay more calm in situations that challenge your inner peace.
According to Merriam-Webster, nurturance is “affectionate care and attention.”
The word is derived from nourishment.
When you self-nurture, you are feeding your emotional, physical, and spiritual parts.
By tending to each part of yourself, you can allow for greater self love and self care to be taken.
If you have difficulty nurturing yourself, there are ways to shift your thinking. You don’t have to live this version of your life forever. You can shift into better care for yourself at any time.
Nurturance is a matter of perspective, and something that feels helpful for you may not feel that way for another person.
It is okay to try and fail at many self-nurturing activities before you find what works for you.
Part of failing is to be gentle toward yourself to help maintain self-love and acceptance.
Here are 5 easy ways to self-nurture:
1. Create a cozy spot in your house.
It can be a corner, room, or even near a window ledge. A cozy spot may include a warm, fuzzy blanket, soft pillows, a scented candle or incense, and a soothing sound.
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Your cozy spot doesn’t need to be fancy to be useful.
Different textures, temperatures, and sounds can be grounding.
This can be a space where you take a nap, read a book, meditate, or even just sit to come back to yourself.
By creating a cozy corner, you are taking a step toward self-nurturance and making yourself a loving self care routine by practicing self care.
2.Cook a meal.
A nurturing meal is one that satiates you.
Allow yourself to feel full afterward.
You can use loving words as you eat and think about how the food is nourishing you.
Food is the ultimate nourishment because it feeds you. Food is a way to fuel yourself in a loving way.
Speak to yourself kindly as you eat. Think about how you would speak to a loved one if you have trouble with this.
You can have fun with food and put as many colors of the rainbow as possible on your plate.
The philosophy of HAES or Healthy At Every Size and Intuitive Eating can help you to listen to what your body needs and be kind to yourself along the way.
Food is one of the essential elements of a self-care practice.
3. Take a bath or shower before bedtime.
Whether you take a hot bath, cold shower or something in between, the temperature changes of your water can be useful in connecting back to your body.
Your Vagus Nerve is one of the secrets within you that can help you alleviate stress. Your Vagus Nerve is connected to your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls fight, flight, or freeze and can’t be controlled by you.
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When you take a cold shower, you activate your Vagus Nerve, which can help you feel less anxiety.
Stimulating the Vagus Nerve can be a self care strategy and relieve the stress in your body.
A hot bath with a soothing scent can be equally stress reducing and have health benefits.
Lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint are popular smells for people who are seeking stress relief.
When you include as many of your senses as possible in your experiences, you can help relieve anxiety anddepression and promote wellbeing.
4. Get outside.
By getting into nature, you can get perspective.
Think of the majesty of mountains, height of trees, and flow of rivers.
You are a significant part of the world, and when you take perspective, you may start to understand that you aren’t the only part of the world.
Nature is nurture when it comes to your five senses and can help you to tap into awe as well as wonder.
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Awe and wonder are connected to joy.
According to Brene Brown, joy is the most vulnerable emotion. It is also an emotion that is useful when you are developing nurturance toward yourself.
When you get outside, you can also improve your physical health by spending time doing a physical activity you love like yoga or walking.
It can be really soothing to color a mandala, out of a coloring book, or sketch.
If you are a person who identifies as an artist, this may be a natural way to nurture yourself.
If not, you can still use coloring to decompress. Allow yourself to use as many colors as you please. You don’t have to color perfectly to get started.
Sometimes, self-nurturance is about going outside of the lines and still feeling okay about yourself. You can use color pencils, crayons, markers, gel pens, or anything else that feels comforting to you.
The goal is to show affection toward yourself.
Self-nurturance is a way to show care toward yourself in a nourishing way.
By using your 5 senses, you can help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.
You can also develop pathways to help you find peace.
Rest and relaxation are part of being productive. So, let yourself take a break when you need it most.
By listening to yourself, you have already started self-nurturance.
If you need help with developing strategies, a therapist can help. If you are feeling anxiety or depression, we have mental health professionals available to help.
The ability to be seen and heard are basic needs.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC