what does it mean to be nourished?
For those who have read my previous posts, you may recall that after making the decision to take a year long career break, I set myself a “bliss project” to explore my passions and to self actualise, find more purpose and connection and focus more on my family and community. Most importantly of all, I recognised that I needed to unplug, re-energise and heal myself, both in body and spirit, so that I could find my way back from fatigue, fogginess and chronic pain to a feeling of strength, vitality and wellness. As I was pondering exactly how I thought I could achieve all these lofty objectives, the concept for my blog “island nourish – in pursuit of a nourishing life” was born. Although I knew that one of the passions I wanted to pursue further was nutrition, I didn’t want to focus purely on food, since I knew this would be only part of the story in my wellness journey. I also wanted to explore other forms of nourishment and form some sustainable habits that would help to support my wellbeing for years to come. Also, I just love the word “nourish”! To me it evokes warmth, nurture, growth and love. We all need some nourishment in our lives.
To me, the concept of nourishment combines the body, mind and spirit – they are all inextricably entwined and it seems to me that, to be nourished, all of these things have to exist in balance. The older I get, the more convinced I am of the mind-body connection and its importance in everyday wellness and the last five months of my own journey has proven that further to me. During this time, I have experimented with incorporating various practices and routines into my lifestyle, with varying degrees of success. This week, in pursuit of a nourishing life, I ponder the concept of a morning routine.
A morning routine
If like me you enjoy reading pieces on wellness, you will be very familiar with the concept of the morning routine. The idea is that one establishes a series of self-care practices which allow one to spring into the day feeling physically, mentally and spiritually energized, with a hop, skip and a jump. Examples of such practices include yoga, meditation, journaling and earthing.
Whilst I definitely admire the sentiment behind this idea, it seems that some commentators would have you feeling that you are a total failure if you are not downward-dogging with the sunrise, journaling and then juicing by 6am. This is in addition to trying to work out to maintain a level of physical fitness, not to mention child wrangling. Respect to you if this is your jam but I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, and scheduling too many activities in the morning could be anxiety producing and therefore counter-productive. In true Carrie Bradshaw style I ask myself, has self-care become a competitive sport? Is a morning routine a challenge to be conquered rather than savoured? You see my point. It’s all individual of course. As with everything worthwhile, it’s a matter of experimenting and finding the right balance for you. You might find that any one (or more) of these practices might be life-changing for you but they might not be right for someone else. If you are an office-working mama, getting up at 5am to work out or to go for a jog before the kiddos wake might seem more worthwhile than getting up to meditate and write in a gratitude journal. This doesn’t mean that these other practices might not be embraced by the same mama later in life when time and circumstances permit. A morning routine is bound to follow the ebbs and flows of life.
My ideal morning routine goes something like this – the morning starts with an easy and slow wake up, hot water with lemon (good for getting the digestion going), a few easy stretches, a 20 minute walk outside with the dog (there’s a breeze and the birds are singing), a 25 minute yoga session (I feel strong yet bendy), followed by 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation, a delicious breakfast of poached eggs and greens and freshly brewed coffee sitting on the patio. Oh and I remember to take all my supplements. Sadly, whilst I might achieve this once in a blue moon, this is woefully unrealistic, even without an office job. I am far more likely to be found rushing around making a packed lunch for my little son, helping him dress, finding his shoes, remembering at the last minute that he needs to clean his teeth, tripping over the dog and slurping tea as I go along. I then rush out of the door to do the school run with minutes to spare. Blissful it is not.
I have, however, found that there is one thing which I find consistently really makes a difference to the overall feeling of the week.
It seems simple (and it is), but I have found that a morning walk outside in nature leaves me feeling more grounded, calm and energized than anything else. When I say a walk “in nature”, a street with a few trees will do but I am lucky to have a relatively quiet private road which leads down to the sea. As I walk, I mindfully take notice of the scenery, the ground under my feet, the sun (or rain) on my face, the sounds of the birds and the smell of the air. I try not to let my mind wander into plans for the day, worries or to-do lists and, if I my mind does wander, I try to re-focus on the sound of my breath. I might even employ a simple mantra... “breathing in….breathing out…..” If I’m very focused it can become a form of active meditation. It’s all about trying to be present and really appreciating the physical environment. Even if I’m feeling down or tired or achy, this never fails to make me feel that little bit more grounded, centered and calm. When I’m out on my walk I regularly see one of the neighbours taking his dog for a walk. Without fail, he always, always has his nose down in his phone. I feel a bit sad for him as he strides past without noticing anything going on or the beauty of the world. What a waste. But perhaps he’s rushing back to do some yoga and journaling.
Do you have a morning routine that you would like to share? What is your one thing that you can guarantee will make you feel better? I’d be happy to hear from you.