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How can I nurture myself?

Wendy Kooken
Nursing

This is an interesting question; the answer depends on who you are as a person. The word nurture means to nourish or is about training and upbringing (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nurture): the definition leads me to believe that we can learn to nurture or nourish ourselves.

Nurses believe people to be a whole comprised of many parts; physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, etc. To understand what needs nurtured, you have to know yourself. Nurturing does not mean giving in to what is easy, but is a decision about what is the best way to enhance who you are and who you are meant to be. As an example, many people believe they have no creativity. So, I ask them, if you could design the perfect bathroom, kitchen, hospital (whichever topic best fits) what would you include in that design? You can be as wild as you want to be about the answers. I have yet to find someone who could not be fanciful, or creative, about what they would include in that design. Creativity is about problem solving. Most people are not aware of their creativity. So, I encourage them to look in books and journals about these topics (e.g., author Eric Maisel).

As another example, I am not a good visual thinker. I knew this was an area in which I could nurture myself and improve my abilities. For about a year, I practiced origami: Following visual directions is necessary to succeed. Although this exercise was often frustrating, I needed to nourish the part of my brain that was underdeveloped in visual interpretation. I was never unkind to myself about my lack of talent in this area- but after a year could pretty well muddle through visual directions.

If you are serious about nurturing yourself, I say get to know who you are; where you are strong; what you are passionate about and dream about; and where you would like to improve. Set life goals based on: 1) ways you can use your talents (because those things encourage us and help others); 2) things you wish you could try (I took fencing lessons); and, 3) things you want to improve. Map out the year with written goals so you can keep track of achieving those goals. There are many good suggestions on the web for how to write goals in such a way that they become helpful, rather than burdensome. See http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html and http://www.mygoals.com/categoryPages/pub-setgoal-HF-lev1.html for sites that I have found useful. Best of luck.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.