Self nurturing, an elevated form of self-care (more on this coming up), is essential to attaining and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
However, for many, the idea of nurturing oneself may seem awkward, self-centered, or completely foreign, especially if you spend most of your time caring for and pleasing others.
Getting started can also be challenging if you lacked proper nurturing or “attachment” in childhood.
Fortunately, mastering the art of self-nurturing can be learned and enjoyed by anyone at any stage in life, regardless of their past.
Read on for seven self-nurturing tips to help you cultivate inner peace, prosperity, and greater health.
What is Self Nurturing?
Self nurturing is a mindful and intentional self-care practice guided by kindness, compassion, and love for oneself.
It’s a way of re-filling our cups, so we have enough energy and “gas in the tank” to meet the demands of daily living.
If you’re thinking, “This can’t work for me because I’m not really loving myself at the moment,” think again because that is a perfect reason to begin a self-nurturing practice.
As we take small steps to nurture ourselves, body, mind, and spirit, we nourish and re-connect to the core essence of ourselves, which is pure love.
Self Nurturing vs. Self Care—What’s the Difference?
There are many articles written about the difference between self-nurturing and self-care.
Although the two can be interchangeable, the act of caring isn’t the same as the act of nurturing.
For example, we can care for a child by providing for all their basic needs and desires. However,the drive to nurture a child comes from a deeper desire to provide connection, attention, and love.
A child who is just cared for will not have the same life and developmental experience as a child who is cared for and nurtured.
The same comparison applies to self-care versus self-nurturing.
Self-care comes from a place of meeting our needs, whereas self-nurturing comes from a place of love.
Self-care practices are also sometimes presented in an unattainable way, such as going to the spa weekly, pressuring yourself to work out more, or hiring a babysitter/calling on grandparents for weekly date nights.
These are all lovely ideas and starting points, but not necessarily practical.
Grandiose visions of self-care can even contribute to stress, cause one to overextend themselves, or create self-sabotage—the opposite of what you want to accomplish.
Does that mean self-care is bad and self-nurturing is good?
No, they are both beneficial, and self-care often opens the door to deeper forms of self-nurturing.
However, many may find self-care practices empty or fruitless without learning to approach their practice with an attitude of nurturing rooted in and motivated by self-love and compassion.
Self Nurturing and Success
We hear a lot about the productivity habits and discipline practices of successful people.
However, what’s less talked about is that many highly successful people build self-nurturing rituals into their daily lives.
The types of practices vary from person to person (and we’ll discuss some of them coming up) and are used to oxygenate their mind, calm their energy, and prime their body for a charged and balanced day.
Let’s start digging into seven self-nurturing activities anyone can start practicing right now.
7 Top Self-Nurturing Activities
If you’re used to reading articles about “the top self-care practices,” this content will be refreshingly different.
Again, the purpose of self-nurturing activities is to deeply nourish and honor the whole person, body, mind, and spirit so you can tap into the very best version of yourself.
Often, self-nurturing activities do not seem remarkable or very exciting.
However, they have been foundational to human health, happiness, and wholeness for eternity.
Here are some activities and ideas to inspire your own self-nurturing practice.
1. Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Original, right? But here’s the thing: until recently, rest has been considered sacred and as important as breathing, eating, or drinking.
The pattern or trend of not getting enough sleep in favor of being more productive is a very new phenomenon.
And no matter how much you meditate, read self-help books, take supplements, or adjust your diet, you cannot become the best version of yourself if you’re sleep-deprived.
Exercise and movement are essential for good health and promoting optimal energy throughout the body.
However, how we approach exercise is vital to its effectiveness as a self-nurturing tool.
So, before you consider adding exercise to your self-nurturing routine, ask yourself: “Am I doing this out of hate or spite for how I look or to achieve a static goal? Or am I doing this as a form of self-love and care?”
If your answer is a mixed bag, don’t feel bad, and know you are not alone.
Most of us, especially women, have been conditioned to exercise ourselves to death to look a certain way.
However, this type of exercise motivation is counter-productive as, sooner or later, it winds up depleting us versus nurturing us.
So, how do you approach exercise from a place of love and compassion?
This one is pretty easy: choose a movement you love to do that brings you joy and listen to your body.
If dancing lights up your heart, dance!
If yoga makes you feel strong and peaceful, hit the mat!
If swimming brings you a deep sense of calm and satisfaction, dive in!
If, however, your exercise of choice makes you feel exhausted, overly self-conscious, or egoic, it may be time to shift to a gentler, more joyful practice.
Our bodies were made to move, so why not make it fun?
Turmeric and Ashwagandha are two supplements that can help support a more joyful exercise routine.
7. Connect with Community to Nurture Social-Emotional Wellness
The modern world may try to convince us otherwise, but history and science are clear: human beings are social creatures who require regular connection with other humans and a sense of place to thrive.
Many experts believe this lack of community, which breeds loneliness, is one of the leading causal factors behind our nation’s physical and mental health crisis.
In other words, building community and cultivating relationships is one of the best things you can do for your health and longevity.
It is at the core of self-nurturing because as we love others, we will learn to love ourselves more deeply.
Some simple ways to start prioritizing community and meaningful relationships are:
Reach out to friends and invite them to meet for tea, a meal, or a walk in the park
Join a Meetup or group of like-minded people in an activity you enjoy
Practice acts of kindness. Bring a meal to new parents, show up at your niece’s or nephew’s birthday party, or help out a neighbor—this type of kindness is deeply nurturing to the giver and receiving
Join a meditation group and kill two birds with one stone!
Volunteer for a cause that is important to you
Host a potluck
Get involved in community activities
Yes, cultivating community takes some effort and even boldness sometimes.
However, you’d be surprised how quickly your tribe will find you once you set a clear intention and act on it.
How to Get Started with a Self-Nurturing Practice Today
Unsure how to get started? Well, guess what? You already have!
By simply being aware of your need for self-nurturing and acting on it by reading this article, you’ve already begun a self-nurturing practice. Congrats!
Regarding where to start with activities on this list, the best way to get started is to pick an activity you know you can stick to and practice it regularly.
Most people can’t go wrong starting with sleep as it lays the foundation for improved focus, concentration, mood, motivation, and overall health. Therefore, we recommend starting there.
If you cannot address sleep shortages right now due to seasons of life or other circumstances, choose something you can do, like a tea ritual, taking herbal supplements, or switching up your exercise routine to something more joyful and positive.
The great thing about self-nurturing is the more you nurture yourself, in small and more significant ways, the more energy you’ll have to continue building your practice and serving others.