Interestingly I sat down to write about the Gift of Appreciation today but nothing was flowing.

So I looked to see what other gifts I could write about and the Gift of Nourishment leapt out of me.

Quite topical for this busy time of year when there are endless jobs to do, places to go, people to see.

It can be fraught and hectic – unless you are super organised and have everything prepared well in advance (definitely not me!)

But nurturing yourself applies no matter what time of year it is – and indeed the gift of nourishment is something I have wanted to talk about for a while.

What do you do on a daily basis to nourish and nurture yourself?

Our bodies are not designed to be on the go constantly – our bodies need rest and downtime.

We need to look after ourselves.

You will have heard the expression:

Work Hard and Play Hard – it’s something Richard Branson lives by which means it’s good for our business and career too.

However when life gets busy one of the first things that often goes is our own self-care and nourishment.

And I am using the word nourishment very deliberately.

And more specifically doing things that nourish your soul.

It can be very easy to do things for ourselves that are not nourishing and actually we feel guilty when we do them.  We keep thinking of all the other more productive things we should be doing instead.

This is not nourishment for our soul.

Let me share a couple of different examples from my own life to highlight what I mean.

I LOVE to read – I love novels, adventure novels, thrillers, murder mysteries.  It used to surprise me that I love them so much because many of them are very dark.  However when I explored it, I discovered that the baddies always get their come-uppance and it was the triumph of good over evil that I loved.

However when I read – especially if it’s during the daytime I generally feel guilty – that I’m ignoring my kids, that I’m not doing something more productive.

So my pleasure in reading is diminished – which definitely doesn’t nourish me.  It never actually stopped me reading but my enjoyment was tinged with guilt “I shouldn’t be doing this”.

But I also realised that I NEVER gave myself the gift of a day off.  I never said I’m doing absolutely nothing today but simply relaxing.

I never truly gave myself permission to do the things my heart craved.

Instead I lived a lot of my life in the “grey zone” – the zone where we’re not being very productive but neither are we relaxing.  No wonder I ended the day feeling like “I’d not achieved anything”.

I also found reading very addictive – if I had a good book I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it – so I often read until the early hours which made me tired the next day – again not at all nourishing!

So I started to look at the other things I did which I didn’t feel guilty about – that felt truly nourishing – and explored what the difference was.

For me there are two things I currently find truly nourishing:

Walking in nature and journaling.

Every time I go out in the fresh air – no matter what the weather – I feel uplifted and invigorated.

When I get home I have more energy and can accomplish more.

But when I looked back I realised this wasn’t always the case.

When I first started walking it was actually a real challenge – I didn’t want to go, I procrastinated, I’d leave it till the last minute until I absolutely had to go otherwise it would be dark (although I’ve also discovered I LOVE walking at night).

But I could justify going for a walk because it was good for my health (whereas reading novels wasn’t!)  Plus I was on a wellness journey so I’d made a commitment to others – I had to go!

So most days I would drag myself out the door and I would always feel better for it.

And over time I started to see the benefits – not just physically but how much it nourished my soul.  I would return inspired with insights I never would have had chained to my desk.

It was the same with getting up early and journaling. At first I thought getting up at 6am was crazy – and whilst I’ve journaled sporadically most of my life I’ve never had a daily practice.

But in the past month I joined a journaling journey and therefore made a commitment to journal every day – and I’ve totally fallen in love with it.

But way more than that – I noticed that on the days I don’t journal I’m not nearly as productive and I’m more likely to get stressed and grumpy.

But when I first began daily journaling a month ago I thought it was frivolous and if I’m honest a bit of a waste of time – a luxury that was lovely but wouldn’t move my business forward – like blogging for example.

However my journaling has not only inspired me but has made me much more creative – indeed this blogging challenge only came about because of my journaling.

Sometimes what nourishes our soul are things we’d never have considered.

And nourishing our soul is essential – not only for our own well-being and productivity but because how we feel impacts those around us.  When we’re nourished we feel joyful and uplifted and we’re much nicer to be around.

What do you do on a daily basis to nourish your soul?

And if this is something that is new for you what will you start to do – especially during this festive period?

Do share in the comments below.