When we have emotional or spiritual hungers, often what we need is nurturing. Many of us use food as the first-line nurturing tactic. We attempt to cope with feelings or spiritual hunger or dissatisfaction with our bodies with food. We end up feeling less nurtured than where we started and sometimes full of self criticism or hate.
As we start moving from feeling empty to wholeness, our strategic plan needs to include many options for nurturing the self instead of turning to food.
Respecting yourself and believing your needs are as important as others is probably the first step to nurturing the whole self. Before you go any further, think or write, “What are 3 things that I can do that really help me to feel nurtured?”
Many of us don’t know what helps us to feel nurtured. But we all know that eating is the easiest way to ease stress or help us to wind down. This can give us the illusion we are taking care of ourselves when in fact in might be self sabotage in disguise.
Let’s explore some options for nurturing the whole self. We’ll look at the four levels on which we can nurture: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Schedule a massage, do the Green Mountain stretches, put on lotion with the intention of self soothing. Check in with your body, as you would a friend and see how she is feeling and what would help her right now.
Notice negative self talk (your body can give you clues when you are self criticizing) and use Thought Stopping: STOP, It doesn’t do me any good to think about this now. Create a relaxing scene in a real or imagined place.
Start counting your affirmations—remember 300 times to create a new neuropathway. An example affirmation: I am taking care of my body each day, I count my needs and feed myself regularly, I can think and feel at the same time. I am putting a self recharger at the top of my TO DO list each day.
Connect with your spiritual/creative self by taking 20 minutes this week to explore an idea, a craft, a beautiful moment in nature, a prayer, some time with your children. Ask yourself, “If it is not food, what am I really hungry for?”
Discovering What We Need
As you work on integrating self nurturing into your daily life, look to where you are not feeling nurtured so that you can work on changing your behavior.
Example: You just aren’t eating the kinds of food that you enjoy and fuel your body.
- Do I not have the food I want to be eating in the house?
- Have I not prepared the yummy foods I want to be eating when I’m not at home?
- Am I eating at the closest restaurant to work when the one that has the food I want to be eating is a three-block walk away?
Once you determine your stumbling block, do some brainstorming, ask for help, write down your plan on your calendar so that you are prompted to remember it.
Nurturing the self is a gift that you give to yourself as well as the others in your life. By recharging, you are less vulnerable to the seduction of food to help you numb out. Remember to put an enjoyable, fill-you-up self-nurturing activity on your to-do or mental list.