Nourish: provide with the food or other things necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
Over the many years of hearing, speaking, and reading this word, I, like most of you, have associated it with food. It wasn’t until I read what Shauna Niequist had to say about nourishment in her book Bread & Wine that I became intrigued with the other things, as mentioned in the definition above.
Shauna emphasizes the connectedness that comes from gathering family and friends around your table, regardless of the multitude of insecurities you may have. You are to invite people into your life, not just to feed them, but to offer love, compassion, rest, and encouragement. All in order for them to truly feel nourished from the stress of this life. While this concept was not new to me, it was a great reminder that has encouraged me as I seek to nourish not only myself, but also those around me.
While other people certainly play a part in investing in and loving on you, it’s equally important that you realize how to meet your own needs. A good friend recently pointed out to me that I am responsible for my own happiness. (That was a tough pill to swallow.) I am the only one that truly knows what my soul needs to sing. It’s my responsibility to voice those desires without feeling selfish or guilty. (There, I said it. Self-nourishment is not worthy of guilt.) Give yourself permission to reflect, dream, journal, or pray. Perhaps, engage in conversations with your spouse or close friends about what activities truly nourish your soul and re-energize you, instead of draining you of ambition and energy.
Spending small chunks of time doing something you’ve identified as a refresher can enhance your mood significantly. (Don’t forget to also identify time wasters and make a conscious effort to avoid them.) Make nap time fun by making a phone call to a friend or reading a book, before tackling the dirty dishes. Work breaks can energize you just by taking a quick walk. Instead of answering one more e-mail, you can sit in the sunshine away from your desk. Regardless of the activity, grant yourself permission to take advantage of those little nuggets of time that we all are gifted throughout the day.
Weekly/Monthly Mood Boosters
You can also prioritize weekly or monthly interests. Whether it’s regular date nights with your spouse, volunteering, coffee, or dinner dates with friends. Even just allowing yourself time to complete errands alone. Can I get an ‘amen!’ on that last one, ladies?! Arrange babysitters in advance and get those dates in your calendar to ensure that these needs become a reality. You are worthy of feeling nourished and allowed to spend your time in ways that are beneficial to you.
And you know what? You’ll find time to get those chores done and more importantly, you’ll feel like a new woman because of it.
If you nourish yourself, you’ll have a full heart and soul that is ready to love on your family and friends. As mentioned earlier, Shauna invites you to welcome people into your home regardless of the insecurities you may have. While this will look different for everyone, you might resonate with one or more of the following:
- Perhaps you’re nervous about your cooking.
- You feel uncomfortable with the appearance or cleanliness of your home.
- Maybe you dread awkward conversation that you don’t know how to navigate.
The truth is that the people around you simply desire comfort. They want an escape from the stressors they’ve encountered that day or during a particular season of life. Let’s be real, ladies. No friend is going to expect a perfectly cleaned house, a gourmet meal, or an illusion of a perfect life. Reality is beautiful (if embraced correctly) and your friends will be attracted to your confidence amidst the hot mess of motherhood.
Many Ways to Show Love
Make it your priority to show your people love. It can be through conversation, food (of any kind!), and the investment of your time. Perhaps your love is better shown through a text to check in or a warm (or frozen) meal delivered to their home. Maybe it’s as easy as an extra coffee brought with you to your kids’ soccer practice. Whatever it is, be sure that you are using the time and resources you have been given to show compassion to those around you. This gift of love will be appreciated and most likely reciprocated. Assuming you allow others to nourish you from the stress of your busy life as well.
May you take the time to find what makes your soul sing,
May you re-energize your work break and fill nap time with fun,
May your homes be full, both of people and dirty dishes,
And may you accept the same nourishment that you’ve gifted to others
Here’s to you, busy mom…
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