“You are what you eat”
Nutrition by definition: The act or process of nourishing or being nourished.
Nutrition is not just what we eat or drink…it is how we feed or nourish our entire being–as parents I think we kind of intrinsically get this. We know how to nourish our kids, good food, good sleep, good hygiene, good exercise, good friends, good schools, good play time, we spend an inordinate amount of time creating nourishing environments for our children….
But how much time do we spend nourishing ourselves….again, think beyond food and drink here….Do we spend our time with people who uplift us, listening to radio or TV that is nourishing or depleting? Everything we expose our self to either nourishes us or depletes us. I grant you–some stuff is pretty neutral–like grocery shopping or sitting in traffic…but even those events we can make into nourishing activities.
I challenge you to find ways to nourish yourself daily. A bubble bath, a sauna, a walk on the beach, a walk around the neighborhood, a deep breath…all these things can be nourishing to both our bodies and our spirits….Pay attention to what you are exposed to on a daily basis….and determine whether it is nourishing or depleting….when we are feeling down we need to take the time to nourish ourselves even more.
I am not just talking about escapist behavior here…although that has its place…at times, as long as we don’t depend on it. Our beings are here on the planet to experience growth….how can we assist in that process? growth and change will happen whether we want it to or not–the question we have to ask ourselves is how can we make it easier for us…I contend that keeping ourselves well nourished makes life’s inevitable set backs easier to handle.
So lets take a look at the difference between escapist behavior and nourishing activities.
Escapist Behavior–anything that takes you out of your existence–basically shifts your attention away from your obsessions. My go to escapist behaviors–over sleeping, over reading, over drinking, over smoking…..some are extensively healthier than others…but I know when I am using a good book to escape the crap in my life…and sometimes that is nourishing…a break from my life allows me to return with a fresh perspective and the ability to make some healthy changes. But when I over do it, at the expense of what needs to get done–I know I am escaping. Some of my friends escapist behaviors include–sleeping, movies, shopping, cleaning and working.
Nourishing Behavior–anything that allows you to take care of yourself. My go to nourishing activities–eating well, being on the water, watching/listening to/or reading educational/thought provoking programming, music and dance, yoga or meditation, practicing mindfulness, moving my body–or a moving meditation, sometimes it’s cleaning my house or organizing something that needs to be attended to….Basically it is anything that makes me better able to handle myself. When I take the time to nourish myself I feel better about myself and therefore better able to handle anything life throws my way.
This is not just a mental exercise either–when we take the time to nourish ourselves–our whole selves–we actually make physiological changes in the body that allow us to handle life better–we have more energy, more mental clarity, more emotional control….
This is not something to stress about–we can easily make small changes in our daily routines to find the time to nourish ourselves…but first we need to determine what we find nourishing….if we are not in the habit of taking care of ourselves…we have no idea what we find nourishing….to start that process simply become aware of how you feel in any given situation….if it makes you feel good–chances are it is either escapist or nourishing. If it makes you feel bad–chances are it is depleting yourself on some level. From there…it is just a matter of creating more nourishing opportunities and avoiding the depleting….this is not an all or nothing game–be easy on yourself–and just start by observing your life, your habitual activities, your habitual conversation, your interactions with other….just see how your life is affecting your whole being….physically, emotionally and mentally–check in with yourself on a frequent basis and just make note…no Judgement here….you are not right or wrong!!! you are you…accept yourself and just observe how you go through the world and how your activities affect you…..then equipped with that very important information you can begin to make meaningful change and consistent efforts to nourish yourself.
In order to reconnect with your kids you will need to be on top of your game….or at least as close to that as you can get–so do whatever small things you can do on a daily basis to nourish yourself…take care of yourself so you can take care of others…..