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It’s time to nourish yourself – here’s why

MEL NOAKES

The Self Care Coach

The little voice inside says “I’m not (good) enough. I should have got an A / that job / the promotion / the guy” – it doesn’t really matter what you should have got – you didn’t get it and it’s because it’s your fault.

You’re not slim enough, pretty enough, tall enough, short enough, blonde enough, brunette enough …. the list never ends – you’re simply not enough.

The words you say to yourself silently have been punishing for so long that you can’t actually remember what it’s like to nourish yourself.

Life has been a rollercoaster of bad men, bad jobs, poor decisions, skipped meals, overtime, work hard and play hard weeks that turned into months.  It’s time to nourish yourself.

Photograph by Ian Schnider via Unsplash

You find that you skip meals or you run an extra 10KM to make up for the extra dessert you had.  You’ll walk miles rather than take a taxi, which would be easier to save the money for something worthwhile.  You say yes to the extra work as you want to prove you’re capable and you only had an early night planned so what does it really matter?  Sometimes you’ll eat a whole packet of biscuits to feel better and then feel guilty afterwards for weeks.

There are endless ways you’ve punished yourself, but the behaviours seem normal.  You don’t feel you deserve any better – whether that’s consciously or unconsciously, you keep making the same kind of awful decisions for yourself.  You put yourself last consistently, you can never say no for fearing you’ll upset someone.  Exhausted?  You bet.

“I wish you were alone, but sadly hundreds, no, hundreds of thousands, of women are just like you. And it has to stop.”

In punishing yourself consistently you’re not allowing yourself to truly flourish, you’re not living fully and you’re denying the world the gifts you and only you have to offer.  And more than that – you’re not living fully and allowing yourself to truly enjoy life.

How do I know this?  Because I was you.  I can tick the same boxes, I said the same things to myself, I hid in the shadows worried if I popped my head up I’d lose it until I realised that life was too short to waste and too long to feel exhausted and miserable.

The sentence I learnt to feed myself with, on multiple levels, the sentence that I credit for turning my own life around was this one, and I invite you to use it too:

I choose to nourish myself.

Nourishment comes in many forms, but often shows up in the way we nourish ourselves with food.

Photograph by Jamie Street via Unsplash

So what can you do to start nourishing yourself?

Choose your words wisely

Everything, and I mean everything, starts within us.  Our thoughts create our words, our words create our actions and our actions create our reality.  It all starts with the little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Whether you call it your gremlin, your tiger, your devil, your saboteur, “Critical FM” – it has hundreds of names, that’s the voice I’m talking about.

Whilst you can’t turn it off entirely – it has a lot of positive uses too – you do need to learn to have a conversation with that voice. It’s motive is simply to keep you safe, it’s your unconscious talking to you and it simply wants to avoid you being hurt, it effectively tells you it’s impossible or you can’t to stop you doing anything that might create a change in the norm.

Instead of simply succumbing to it, or shouting it down, why not rework what it’s saying to you.  If the voice inside is saying “you’re not good enough” rework that sentence into “I’m more than capable of doing that” or “with a little practice I’ll be good enough”.

If you learn to change your inner language to more positive language you’ll see the changes in all areas of your life.

Let the love in

Photographs by Yoori Koo via Unsplash and Lucy Williams My Heart Skipped 

Say “yes” to yourself

As women we are trained to put others first, in fact it’s seen as selfish and not very nice to put ourselves first.  But if you keep saying yes to everyone else and not having enough energy and time for yourself, you simply don’t have the energy for the life you desire and deserve!

If you notice you always say yes to extra work from people, or you say yes to every social engagement and then wear yourself attending them all, if you don’t get enough sleep, or even miss meals as you “don’t have time” to eat – then you need to seriously take note of what I’m about to say.

By trying to please everyone, you please no one.

Each week take out your diary in whatever format you use and schedule out these four appointments with yourself each day:  breakfast, lunch, dinner, “me time”.

The time slots can be as big or small as you need them to be, perhaps you make lunch the night before so you just need 15 minutes to eat it, or maybe breakfast is a smoothie so you just need 5 minutes in the morning – but schedule the time in your diary and then stick to the appointment, make the time sacred.

“Me time” has become one of my most cherished moments in the day.  It started off as simply as a 5-minute walk around my office block each day, it was my time to just be quiet and with my thoughts. If you commit to this practice you’ll find you’re calmer, more focused, more relaxed and actually more productive!

Exercise and food are an integral part of self care, but not a battle ground

I work with so many clients who find it hard to find the balance between healthy living and healthy self love.  So let me explain it in simple terms.

Exercise is a key component for good health – it’s shown to have a myriad of benefits and life extending properties for as little as 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (like a spin class) a week and 2 strength building sessions.   If you miss a gym session, it’s really not the end of the world.  If you’re sick and your body needs rest – it needs rest.  Exercise is a part of a healthy lifestyle and as a by-product it can change your body and build muscle and make you slimmer and all those things – but the priority, I believe, should be focussing on being active and healthy for as many years as possible.

And then let’s talk about food.

A balanced diet is a way of living rather than a FAD diet that happens to be popular at the time.  It’s about fuelling your body to live life giving it the energy, nutrients and vitamins it needs to function properly.  I work with many women who have spent years “cutting out food”.  I encourage them, and you, instead to focus on the food your body enjoys and needs.  Rather than looking at the food you can’t have, look at the food you can have and your body flourishes on.

See food as nourishment and a way to live your best life.

And why should you do this?

I truly believe the world needs more amazing women like you in it.  Our young women need role models, our business models need women to balance the equation, our world politics need female voices to soften the edges, but if we’re so busy inwardly punishing ourselves and telling ourselves we’re not good enough, the light and brilliance we have inside doesn’t have the capacity to shine – and the world needs all of us.

I’d love to hear the ways you nourish yourself, it’s not only inspiring for me to read but for other women looking for inspiration.  Share your own ideas in the comments!

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