We asked you to share your reflections on this theme and the responses ranged from concepts of growth and evolution to self-care and healing, and serving as a witness or source of quiet support to another.
What does NURTURE mean to you? How do nurture yourself, others, ideas, your work, the world? How do we nurture for wellness?
This is the theme for The Wellness Moonshot for November 2020. View the whole editorial package.
Thank you to our readers for sharing these reflections on what it means to you and how we can act on it. Please add more by commenting at bottom.
Provide an oasis
I have been through a very turbulent divorce and unfortunately, I was unable to protect my two children from the fallout of that process. Two years on, I nurture them by providing them with a safe and cosy home. I think of it as a nest. For me, nurturing is about allowing them to speak honestly and openly about their feelings and wishes without fear. I also surround them with positive role models and again, this gives them a sense of security and belonging.
-Alison March, The Group Hug, Ascot, England
Trade anxiety for mindfulness
In the initial blur that accompanies new motherhood, I initially spent the long, dark nights scrolling social media. It’s so easy to get caught up in wishing time away when you’re in the throes of sleep deprivation and learning how to be a mum. I quickly realised this wasn’t helping my already anxious brain as it served only to fuel the over-thinking and fear that everyone else is doing new motherhood better. But a mindfulness course changed everything. Here are my practical tips…continue reading “How mindfulness nurtures the journey of new motherhood.”
-Lottie Reeves, Mindfulness Mentor & Wellness Advocate, on a narrowboat in Hertfordshire, England
The most nurturing thing I think you can do for others is to provide them with a safe space, a listening ear and a nodding head. Most of us can find our own way, we just need someone cheering us on and believing in us; someone we also want to come back to with our success.
-Marie Brown, website development firm founder, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
I am a personal trainer that works exclusively with busy women. The most important thing that I have come to realize when working with these women is that just having a space to offload to someone non-judgmental is a massive way to nurture yourself and your mental health. I hold space for my clients and throughout the session, while they are exercising, I give them the opportunity to talk, to rant, to vent, just to verbalize their thoughts. Having a safe space to voice your feelings can be massively helpful in nurturing your own mental health. If you don’t feel like you can trust anyone with your innermost feelings start writing it down and journaling. Just getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper can help you to process difficult emotions or something you feel “stuck” with.
-Aimee Pearce, Personal Trainer, Sheffield, England
The best way I nurture myself and my children is always starting and ending my day with a positive mindset and intention. We practice meditation, mindfulness and gratitude daily to allow our stresses to reduce, to allow calm and to be more present in every moment — rather than worry or be anxious about the past or future. We surround ourselves with like-minded people who help nourish us and grow, and let go of toxic relationships. Nurturing myself and the children really is about looking after our physical and emotional wellbeing, and checking in with what we need.
-Sheena Tanna-Shah, Wellness Practitioner & Coach, Northampton, England
Make it a daily habit
We began as a brand selling a wellness product, but ended up creating a community of people who are all on a journey to wellness. I found myself saying every day to people, who were reaching out for support, “There is no one product (including ours), activity or book that is going to make you feel wonderful. Wellness is an accumulation of small choices each day that have a positive effect on your mind, body, life, or community.” I built relationships with our customers, and I loved sharing ideas with them on ways they could nurture themselves for the journey they are on, whether it be a great podcast or particular meditation. I found that if we have this idea in our minds as we go about life, we can find the balance we need.
-Stacey Pritchard, Planthaya, Liverpool, England
An act of nurturing is to allow others to speak fully and to feel heard, without interruption and judgement. This way, we are not projecting ourselves — or our standards or the filter through which we see life — on them, nor staying in that ‘proving’ energy of having to be right.
-SarahMcGirr, Money Breakthrough Business Coach, London, England
Research shows that positive statements repeatedly spoken out loud over time encourage a more optimistic mindset, and I’ve found my daily 30-second mirror affirmation sessions to be a welcome boost to my mental and overall wellness. I took a Behaviour Medicine module at university and wrote my dissertation on stress, resilience and coping strategies. During my research, I came across the use of vocal positive affirmations as a positive coping strategy. I’ve since tweaked it to saying them looking at myself in the mirror as it feels more intentional and deeply personal. I find that positive affirmations are an excellent tool for reprogramming my unconscious mind from negative thinking. It is so easy to give in to negative self-talk, but by consciously repeating affirmations and mantras at a set time every morning, it gradually has become a habit. The positivity seeps into my day-to-day thinking, nurturing my sense of self-esteem and self-identity. It is a form of mental self-care that I feel is grossly underrated.
-Dr. Noreen Nguru, The Luxe on a Budget Club, West Sussex, England
Realise mutual benefits
Nurturing for me has been supporting my daughter through childhood anxiety. By co-creating the PepTalk Pillow to help us better communicate, we’ve become closer and now help other families to connect. Nurturing through creativity has helped my daughter better understand her emotions, process big feelings and feel more self-confident. I’ve also learned that seeing my daughter’s improved mental wellness has helped nurture my own personal confidence.
-Alex Brown, BelieverAchiever, London, England
Pour from a full jug
I’m an unpaid carer for my children who have Autism. I was also caring for my mother with dementia until she died. I hit burnout by not self-nurturing, and my mission now is to help other women carers avoid this. I run a Facebook Group specifically for unpaid female carers who are caring for a family member with a disability or illness. Teaching them self-care, self-compassion and self-nurture is so important for their emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. There’s a danger of burnout if carers don’t get their own needs met. Unpaid carers are so unappreciated and undervalued for what they bring to society. Women, especially, tend to give and give and give until their well is empty. I teach them that everything starts with replenishing their energy. Even if this means snatching five minutes to put on some music and close their eyes, a short guided meditation, a cup of tea in the garden, or being mindfully present when doing anything that needs to be done.
-Tansy Muller, wellness practitioner & coach for carers, London, England
Hold yourself higher
One of the most important things that I’ve learned over the years is that it’s crucial to allow myself to have the space for healing: to put in place boundaries that help me hold that space for myself, and to act towards myself as I act towards others. I also see in my coaching business that women (and men) can be very caring and kind towards others, but when it comes to themselves they very often have different standards. Allowing yourself to have that healing space to explore, feel, and resolve is important because it helps you to break free from the past and move towards the happiness and health that we all deserve. As a mindful healing expert working with physically injured people, I see over and over again what an incredibly positive ripple effect this type of nurturing has on the body. Nurturing yourself from the inside out (resolving emotional, mental, and spiritual struggles) is what helps you heal with ease.
-Dr. Maya Novak, Mindful Healing Expert, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Keep it simple
I believe, in these tough times, the best thing you can do to nurture others is asking them how you can support them. Sometimes we might be inclined to think the best way to support someone struggling could be to provide a solution to their problems, while they might just need to vent, or need some comforting words to know they are understood. Something as simple as asking, “What do you need from me in this moment?” can help your friend or partner to feel heard, and make them feel better.
When it comes to ourselves, I think it is important to remember that we can’t do everything perfectly, and to forgive ourselves instead of feeling guilty. We might have to juggle multiple things — especially now with work, childcare, personal anxiety, and much more — and need to remember it is OK to focus on one thing at a time. Perhaps one day we feel we might have not been the best professionals at work but can focus on the fact we have been present parents; if we feel like we didn’t give enough attention to our partners, we can focus on the other things we have accomplished, knowing we can do the reverse the next day.
-Federica Trimarchi, The Mood Club, Milan, Italy
I believe the greatest gifts we have to give to ourselves and others are love and kindness. My catchphrase during lockdown has been, “Be kind to yourself and each other.” I think being kind to yourself includes taking time to tune in, being honest with yourself about your feelings and needs, and being authentic in the way you respond, take action and communicate those things to others. We can extend those gifts and nurture them in others by taking the time to really connect by listening, hearing and seeing them for who they really are and treating them with love and kindness. It has taken me a long time to understand that giving to others doesn’t mean sacrificing myself! By respecting, loving and nurturing myself first, I have so much more to offer others.
-Emma Baylin, Shared Harmonies CIC, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England
Find a healthy foundation
I’m a divorce strategist who recognises the vital role self-nurturing and wellness plays to avoid a divorce turning nasty. Self-nurturing is key to the strategy of a less adversarial divorce — even when the other person is making things much more challenging. It takes two to fight a war, so if one steps out of the ring for some self-love and nurturing, that person is then in a fit state to take control and move their evolving family into a healthier space. I usually end my initial Divorce Strategy session asking, “And what about you? How are you doing?” Normally the person goes very quiet, and sometimes bursts into tears. I gently explain that everything we’ve talked about — the finances, divorce process, co-parenting — won’t be attainable if they don’t first spend some time giving love to themselves. I ‘give them permission’ (actually, I insist) that they take care of their emotional and psychological state. I give them access to free resources and free initial consultations with the relevant experts. There is no such thing as a broken family, only an extended family. There is no such thing as a broken person, only a growing, evolving, learning person — usually in need of a hug, which may be harder in lockdown, but virtual hugs abound if you know how to invite them in!
-Suzy Miller, Divorce Strategist, London, England
To nurture is to move incrementally forward, toward something positive. There’s a process to progress. Nothing lasting or of great value comes instantaneously. We have to be committed to the regular effort of putting our intention and action toward a goal. Whatever the journey, I’ve learned that it requires the ability to flex to changing conditions, plus patience, perseverance, and humility. A big learning for me has been the concept of taking a break from work in order to be more productive. What a paradox! I’m learning that laughter can accomplish more than blood, sweat and tears…continue reading “Nurturing is a positive nudge forward.”
-Liza Horan, Editor of MindstreamConnect.com, Edinburgh, Scotland
Find micro-moments of self-care
“Nurture” is a word and action I’ve become really familiar with and committed to both personally and professionally. It is a word that is under-used in society and often only viewed through one lens — our interaction with others. For many it’s simply associated with our actions as friends, partners, parents, work colleagues, mentors, and community members. However, to be able to nurture others well we need to actively nurture ourselves. After sleep-walking into an unbalanced life that wasn’t the right fit for me, I’ve realigned. Embracing micro-moments of self-care…continue reading “Sustainable success comes by nurturing, not neglecting, yourself.”
-Katie Adams, life & wellbeing coach, Edinburgh, Scotland
Please comment below with your reflections on the theme of nurturing for wellness.