“Be there for others but never leave yourself behind.”
International Women’s Day is just around the corner and while we all know that the present time is an important time in history to work towards forging a more gender-balanced world, we often forget that women have already come a long way, even though, there’s still so much more to be achieved for women to feel acknowledged for what they do and to be rightly treated as equals.
While it is necessary to celebrate women’s achievements and at the same time, challenge gender bias to bring in parity, there are a few simple things that we can all do, on a daily basis, that can help nurture ourselves—so we are ready to tackle our respective challenges in life.
If you look around, you’ll notice, that as women, we’re almost always running around taking care of everybody else, being the nurturers that we are, and very often, this comes at the cost of neglecting our own selves. In fact, many of us struggle with the idea of prioritising because we’ve been raised to put others’ needs first and ignore our own. It is as if, by putting ourselves first, we will begin to look arrogant or self-centered, and it is definitely, not a nice thing to do.
So, what happens when we continuously put others before us? Think of the time when you’ve given all your time, energy and resources, (be it at the workplace or at home) without caring to stop for a little self-care? Did you take a break to look into your own needs first? No. Think of how that made you feel? Used, tired and burnt out? Didn’t you feel a little resentful that while you were pouring yourself out for everyone else, a part of you also wanted to have someone reach out to nourish/nurture you as well, in the process?
Happens to all of us! The simple fact is, we cannot wait for someone else to come to our aid and nurture us back to health and happiness. What use are we to anyone if our energy is depleted because we have given every last bit of it away?
Self-care comes from within and it nourishes and nurtures us even when we are leading busy lives, trying to balance the needs of the family along with the demands of the workplace. Just think why do they tell us to put on our oxygen mask first on an aeroplane before we help others?
Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows. Then, you can serve others, joyfully, from your saucer.
As part of a self-care routine, today, I’m sharing a few simple hacks that work for everyone—all we need to do is to pick our favourites (whatever works for you might not work for me and vice versa!) and get set to nourish our mind, body and soul.
- Wake up to the sounds of the morning, look at the horizon or immerse yourself in nature, listen to the chirping of the birds and watch the dawn unfold before you.
- Listen to your favourite music, let go of worries, and just be in the moment.
- Hug someone you love; listen to their heartbeats and feel the gentle power of love.
- Do some stretching, playing or exercising to get a fresh burst of energy. You’ll love the feeling afterwards.
- Do deep breathing or meditate to some soothing music.
- Take a walk in your neighbourhood park or take some time off from work to get some fresh air.
- Keep aside some time every day to read a book or catch up on reading/listening to inspiring talks.
- Get a massage or go for a spa session to give your tired muscles some rest and relaxation while you switch off from every activity and enjoy the quiet.
- Get creative—sing, draw, paint, create, cook, whatever it is that you love to do for stress-busting. (This is a must if you’d love to get your creative juices flowing. The results will surprise you! Trust me.)
- Reach out to a friend you’d love to talk to—laugh heartily and forget your worries, or rant and moan and lighten up and do remember, it’s okay if you wish to cry your heart out too! (That’s what good friends are for, anyway!)
Have you ever wondered how often we get caught up with anticipating the needs of those we care about that we simply miss hearing our own inner voice?
Instead of the oft-repeated refrains of “Why me?”, for a change, let’s ask ourselves—“Why not me?” Listen carefully, because nurturing oneself is not an option. It is absolutely essential and even though it might mean very different things to different people, but listen we must. Once we recognise that we are individuals first, self-care and nurturing will naturally become an inseparable part of our everyday routine.
I’m Writing Bravely for the Write Tribe Festival of Words – March 2019.
Prompt for Day 4 – ‘Nurture’.