“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~ Eleanor Brown
In these times of uncertainty and stress, nurturing ourselves has become more important than ever. As our lives have been totally disrupted by the impacts of the pandemic and the new reality of social distancing, working from home, or not being able to work at all, intentionally creating space in our lives to ground in this chaos may be our most essential task in the day. But how do we nurture our self-nurturing practices when life is upside-down?
How about a family self-nurturing challenge?
This is what our family has been engaging in and it has made the process so much fun! Right as we were asked to shelter in place my daughter Zoey returned home from her study abroad program in London. It was a joy to have her home but equally as sad that her study abroad experience had been cancelled after only two months. As with many people we experienced the deep disappointment of abrupt endings and the grief that ebbs and flows. We talked about how we could support ourselves during this challenging time and came up with starting a self-nurturing challenge. The idea was to have a fun and supportive way to increase the number of self-nurturing activities in our day and be supportive of each other in the process.
We started by creating a list of self-nurturing activities that we wanted to engage in. We then wrote an intention and commitment in the front of a journal we designated for the challenge. My commitment read, “To nurture and support myself during this very challenging time of the corona virus pandemic I commit to the following daily self-nurturing practices:” and then I wrote my list. We then created a chart to check off the activities that we had committed to. Some of my self-nurturing practices included meditation, journaling, walking, acknowledging myself, gratitude practice, yoga, drinking water, mindful eating, being creative, playing games, reading something inspiring, and getting adequate sleep.
The idea of doing this as a family challenge was that the person who engaged in the most activities won the prize – a designated amount of money – to spend on themselves or the group. The amount of money did not matter as it just incentivized the challenge, and truthfully it was the support and encouragement of the group and yes a little bit of competition that encouraged us to keep our commitments going.
So many beautiful experiences blossomed from the challenge including morning meditation as a family followed by journaling and talking about our insights and discoveries. I have been wanting to meditate with my husband for years and so it felt like a blessing to have him participate in the challenge! Engaging as a family helped us all prioritize our self-nurturing practices and weave them into the fabric of our days. Having these beautiful practices ground us and fuel our resilience during these difficult times has made such a difference in our ability to cope and adapt.
Another gift of this challenge was that we did not make it about perfectionism and having to complete every activity on the list in order to win. We used the challenge as a way to remind ourselves of the multiple nurturing options we have to choose from every day. As a result when I checked the activities off my list each day I was able to acknowledge myself for what I had done rather than berate myself for what I had not accomplished. This practice in itself was self-nurturing and motivated us to continue the challenge.
This family self-nurturing challenge has been a joyful way to prioritize nurturing ourselves and have fun doing it together! The practices have become a natural part of our days and we are all feeling more grounded and resilient as a result. Even though the challenge is over I am continuing my practice of checking things off my list daily and am creating a check list to share with you!
So what self-nurturing activities would you like to commit to? How could you include one new nurturing practice into your day today and celebrate yourself? Who would you like to ask to participate in a self-nurturing challenge with you to encourage you?
The taped the image for this blog in the front of my journal as a constant reminder of the belief I hold in myself. I share my belief in you and remind you that you got this! Since there is so much that we cannot control in these times, let’s commit to focusing on what we can – deeply nurturing ourselves!
May you choose to continue to nurture yourself in these challenging times so that you can nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,
Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker
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