Nurturing yourself isn’t just a luxury or something that we just check off our to-do list once a year and just forget about it the next. It is an absolute necessity.
I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to nurturing ourselves, most of us are guilty of taking that area for granted.
We allow ourselves to be pulled in a million different directions, constantly overextending ourselves, rushing from one task to another, putting everyone’s needs first but our own, thinking that they are not really that important.
Well, I’m definitely no stranger to this feeling. For the longest time, I have always believed that as long as I was checking things off my to-do list and taking care of all my responsibilities, regardless of how emotionally and mentally drained I was feeling, then I was still doing perfectly okay.
It wasn’t until life smacked me in the face with a wake-up call and I found myself at the lowest point of my life with this giant hole of emptiness inside of me that I finally realized how crucial it is to nurture ourselves.
Nurturing yourself is not selfish. It is vital to our overall well-being and happiness. As cliche as it sounds, you truly cannot pour from an empty cup.
You can’t just constantly put everything else first and continually take yourself for granted. You deserve to give yourself the same level of love, attention, and care that you so freely give to others.
In this post, I will be sharing with you lessons and tips that I’ve learned while I was navigating my own journey toward self-nurturing and self-love.
These tips and lessons have tremendously helped me grow, heal and transform my life for the better and I’m hoping that they will do the same for you!
How To Nurture Yourself
1. Practice Self Compassion
One of the vital keys to learning how to nurture yourself is learning how to give yourself grace and compassion, especially when life gets hard and when you are navigating dark seasons in your life.
I know how easy it is to become our worst critic. To constantly put ourselves down and beat ourselves up for every little mistake and failure.
I was guilty of doing this too and quite frankly, sometimes I still find myself struggling with this. When I hit rock bottom, I constantly blamed myself for all the bad decisions that I’ve made that have led me to the lowest point of my life.
Every day, I would beat myself up for it. I would constantly talk myself down and remind myself of all my mistakes and failures. I thought that by doing that I was making myself more accountable for my life.
I used to believe that doing that will make me more motivated and driven to turn my life around and achieve my goals. But man was I wrong. What it did was the complete opposite.
It made me feel so much worse about myself and I didn’t realize that doing that was taking so much toll on my confidence and self esteem.
It made me doubt myself and if I even have what it takes to pull myself out of this endless void of problems and heartaches.
I’ve learned that one of the greatest things that you can do for yourself is to be kind to yourself.
Give yourself compassion and love. Instead of constantly putting yourself down, lift yourself up by being your own best friend and cheerleader.
2. Practice Forgiveness (To Yourself And To Others)
While I was navigating this journey, one of the important lessons that I’ve learned along the way is that nurturing yourself is not only about making positive changes in our habits and routines.
It is also about learning to let go and break free from past pains and regrets.
I know how difficult forgiveness can be. Regardless of whether we are giving it to others or even to ourselves, sometimes doing it is just better said than done.
I know exactly how you feel, I was deeply hurt by the people that I love most. I was made to feel like I was never enough and that my worth was only tied to my achievements in my life and without it I was just nothing.
I was so angry and bitter and I took that with me for years. I’ve allowed myself to hold on to that anger and I let it consume me without realizing that by doing it, I was also allowing myself to be hurt by their words over and over again.
By holding on to that anger, I was still giving their words and actions power over me.
I’ve learned that forgiveness is not about minimizing the pain that they have caused or the wrongness of what they have done.
It is about setting yourself free from the pain and finally allowing yourself the chance to heal, find peace and move forward.
I know that sometimes one of the most difficult things that we can do is to forgive ourselves for all our past mistakes and failures. We tend to hold on to them and punish ourselves over and over again.
If you also do this, I want you to know that you as much as anybody else deserve forgiveness. Offering yourself forgiveness doesn’t mean that you are not holding yourself accountable for all your mistakes.
It is about learning to accept your imperfections, embracing your humanity, treating yourself with kindness, and most importantly learning from your mistakes and using them as a guide to help you make better decisions in the future.
3. Practice Gratitude
I know how easy it is to focus all our energy and attention on everything that’s going wrong in our lives. When our life is falling apart, finding something to be grateful for may seem impossible.
I know how you feel. When I was going through the lowest point of my life, it was like every day, I was smacked with one new problem after another.
It seemed like life was throwing me all these curveballs without even giving me a chance to breathe and recover.
I’ve allowed myself to be consumed by the negativity and I chose to focus all my attention on my problems and everything that was going wrong in my life.
I honestly thought that doing that was helpful, and that it would make me more determined and motivated to take the necessary steps needed to improve my life. But it didn’t.
It just made everything worse. Slowly it was making me more hopeless. By focusing on all the bad things, I was beginning to doubt if there was really even a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
I’ve learned that being grateful doesn’t mean that you are minimizing the problems that you are going through.
It just means that while you recognize that you are going through difficult times, you also acknowledge that there are still good things that are happening in your life, regardless of how small they may seem.
Practicing gratitude allowed me to shift my focus from the things that I lack and the negativity to the good things that were still happening right in front of me that I was just too distracted to even notice.
It made me more determined to turn my life around and honestly, being grateful and celebrating even the smallest good thing in life just gives me more hope. Hope that everything will soon be okay.
Hope that soon things will start to turn around for the better.
4. Make Time For Self Care
Making self care a priority is an essential part of nurturing yourself. Let’s be honest, are you also guilty of constantly putting your needs on the back burner thinking that they don’t matter?
I was and quite frankly, sometimes I still find myself struggling with this. For years, I continued to believe that as long as I was achieving my goals then I was doing perfectly fine and it didn’t really matter if I took my needs for granted.
It wasn’t until I found myself at the lowest point of my life, emotionally and mentally drained, that I realized that self care is survival. It is non-negotiable.
We have to make time for our needs. We have to allow ourselves to breathe, pause and just recharge. I know how hard it is sometimes to prioritize our needs, especially when we have so much going on in our lives.
But you must always remember that your needs matter. Self care is not in any way selfish nor is it unproductive. Self care is a necessity if we want to continue taking care of others.
Making self care a priority doesn’t only benefit our mental health and happiness. It also greatly boosts our productivity and improves our focus.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
How many times have you said yes to things when you really wanted to say no? How many times have you overextended yourself regardless of how exhausted you felt?
Setting healthy boundaries is an important step in nurturing yourself. You can’t truly take care of your well-being if you continue to allow yourself to be pulled in a million different directions because you are so afraid of disappointing other people.
You can’t keep saying yes to other people and continue saying no to yourself, your needs, and your peace of mind and still expect yourself to live a happy and fulfilled life. I’ve learned this the hard way.
To be perfectly honest, I thought that overextending myself to other people and always saying yes to their needs without any regard for mine because I was so afraid of letting them down makes me a good person.
But the more that I did it, the more resentment I felt towards them and the more empty I felt inside. Setting boundaries is not selfish.
It is a sign of self-respect. If you continue to say yes to everything and everyone, eventually you will be running on empty and it’s certainly not a place that you want to be.
When you set healthy boundaries, you are essentially saying that you also matter. That your needs also deserve to be prioritized. Setting boundaries is about allowing yourself to say no, without feeling guilty afterward.
It is about saying no to things that no longer align with your values and beliefs and saying yes to things that will nurture yourself.
6. Allow Yourself To Take A Break Without Feeling Guilty
When was the last time you allowed yourself to slow down and take a break?
I know how difficult it is sometimes to allow ourselves a break. Especially in today’s day and age, where the hustle culture is continually glorified and when it’s so easy for us to get caught up with the hustle and bustle of life.
Before hitting rock bottom, I was guilty of constantly pushing myself to exhaustion. I thought that the only way for me to achieve all my goals is to consistently be productive.
But all it ever did was led me to unhappiness and burnout. Allowing yourself a chance to take a break and even just slow down is not a bad thing, for what it’s worth, I actually think it is essential in living a healthy life.
Taking a break allows you the chance to just breathe. Step back from the noise and
constant demands of life and recharge.
I’ve now learned that taking a break is not unproductive. More often than we realize it is actually very beneficial not just to our mental health but also to our productivity and focus.
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7. Spend Meaningful Time With The People That You Love
Another essential part of nurturing yourself is spending quality time with the people that support you and uplift you.
When you are going through this new journey of nurturing yourself, you may go through some big changes in your life and it’s not always going to be easy.
There will be days when you may feel overwhelmed or days when you feel down, in those moments it’s important to have someone in your corner who will help you navigate this season.
Yes, they may not always exactly know how and what you’re feeling but they will be there to listen, hold your hand and support you through the constant ups and downs of life.
They will be there to lift your spirits and continually cheer you on as you go through the storms and life.
Make time for those people. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make meaningful memories with them and show them just how grateful you are for having them in your life.
8. Explore New Things Or An Interest That You’ve Always Wanted To Try
Stepping outside our comfort zone can be terrifying. Sometimes we even end up doing the exact same thing and staying in the same place regardless of how unhappy we are just because it feels comfortable and safe.
Because the reality is, more often than we’d like to admit, trying something new is not always only exciting, it can also be scary and overwhelming. I’m no stranger to this feeling.
I have always been afraid of big changes. There was a period in my life when I felt so empty and unhappy but I chose to keep it that way because trying something new for me was even more terrifying.
But the thing is the more that we keep ourselves from exploring new things and stepping outside our comfort zones, the longer we are also preventing ourselves from personal growth and improvement.
Time is fleeting and life is by far too precious to just spend it unhappy and unfulfilled. Remember that you don’t always have to take huge leaps and make big changes, sometimes taking one small step every day is what matters.
Take one step at a time. Try one small thing. Let’s remind ourselves that though it is scary, we have what it takes to overcome whatever uncertainties life will throw at us. This will only make us wiser and more resilient.
Go ahead, give new things a shot, and embrace the unknown.
9. Live In The Present Moment
Learning to live in the present moment is an essential part of nurturing yourself. Are you also guilty of constantly worrying about the future or ruminating about the past?
I know how mentally draining it can be to constantly focus all our energy and attention stressing about the things that may or may not happen in the future or constantly replaying all past events.
Learning to live in the present moment and taking each day as it comes allows us to break free from worries and enjoy every little thing that is happening right in front of us.
It allows us to press pause on the feeling of overwhelm that we get constantly by worrying about all the what if’s of the future and give us a chance to spend our time more meaningfully.
Here’s a great post from Psych Central that’ll help you learn how to start living in the present moment.
10. Allow Yourself Some Time Alone To Recharge
There’s definitely no denying that life can get too overwhelming and hectic sometimes. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the noise and chaos of life.
That’s why it’s so important to carve out some time alone. Taking some “me-time” does not only give you the opportunity to slow down and breathe but it also allows you the chance to step back and reflect on everything that you are currently going through in life.
I know that when we are struggling in life, carving some time alone is probably the last thing on our minds, especially when we have a lot of responsibilities to face.
I believed that too but when I hit my rock bottom, I realize that there’s no better opportunity to make time for yourself than now. Carving out some time alone to recharge and reflect, especially when we are going through difficult times, is like a breath of fresh air.
You can use this time to do anything that nourishes your soul and lift your spirits. Don’t hesitate to spend some alone time with yourself. It’s one of the greatest gifts that you can give to yourself. You deserve it.
11. Set Personal Goals For Self Improvement
Nurturing yourself involves nurturing your dreams and aspirations. Use this time to set personal goals that’ll help you make those dreams a reality.
The first thing that you can do is to spend some time reflecting and figuring out what areas in your life you want to improve.
What dreams do you want to pursue? What skills do you want to enhance or develop? What are the things that truly matter to you? It’s crucial to be completely honest with yourself in answering these questions.
Reflecting on those things will help you set specific and realistic personal goals. After you have that figured out, you can then list down all the tasks or the steps that you have to take to achieve those goals.
Remember that it’s perfectly okay to break down large tasks into smaller and manageable steps. This will make things less overwhelming and a whole lot easier for us to actually stick with it.
12. Learn To Accept Yourself Completely And Embrace Your Imperfections
Nurturing yourself involves learning to accept who you are wholeheartedly, flaws and imperfections included.
In today’s day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in chasing perfection and pushing ourselves to meet all these unrealistic standards just so we could feel worthy and enough.
And if we fall short on what society dictates as perfect, then we are meant to feel like we are not deserving of good things or that we are not good enough. Living this kind of life is exhausting.
Chasing perfection and meeting all these unrealistic standards just so we can feel good about ourselves is mentally and emotionally draining. You are enough just as you are now.
Your worth and value are not tied to other people’s validation. The only validation that you will ever need is your own. It’s time to stop chasing perfection just so we can feel accepted.
You are worthy now and you have always been. You just have to learn to embrace who you are, flaws and imperfections included. You are amazing and you are unique.
Live the life that you want because regardless of what other people believe, perfection does not exist.
Allow yourself to make mistakes, be true to yourself, fail, learn, and grow. Life is by far too precious to waste your time chasing after other people’s validation and hating yourself.
Embrace your imperfections and remember that you are deserving of kindness, love, and nurturing.
One of the best things that you can do as you begin the journey of nurturing yourself is to be patient with yourself and give yourself love and grace along the way.
Remember that nurturing yourself is not a straight path. You will encounter twists, turns and surprises along the way.
There will be days when you feel like you mastered it all and got it all figured out and then there will be days when you feel so lost and a failure.
Remember that that is perfectly okay. On difficult days like those, I want you to know to never forget that you have within you this strength and courage that will help you go through whatever downs and turns life may bring. Never doubt yourself.
Ultimately, it’s best to remember that nurturing yourself is unique and different for each of us. The best thing that you can do is to try and explore new things and discover the things that truly nurture yourself and makes life feel more meaningful and fulfilled.
You got this!