If you find yourself often putting yourself last in order of priority, then you probably need to take some lessons in self nurturing. Since you often give every last bit of your energy and time to your families and your job, you have to learn how to nurture yourself.
These 20 self nurturing activities can help rejuvenate you to get everything done while feeling good about yourself. But before we dive into our list of self nurturing activities, let's discuss why it's important to nurture yourself.
Why self nurturing is important
As popular as the term “self-care” has become, too many of us ladies tend to forget ourselves in favor of others. Yet, ironically, the more we neglect our own needs, the less able we are to care for our kids, our parents, our volunteer causes, and other important things in life.
Let’s remember what the word “nurture” actually means. Originally, it meant “to feed or nourish,” and I believe that can be interpreted both literally and figuratively.
You can self nurture quite literally through the food you eat, but there are so many self nurturing activities that go far beyond that physical meaning. You can feed your soul by doing the things you love, spending time with people you love, and getting the rest your body needs.
If you’re still struggling with the concept of self nurture, think about this. If you’re constantly running on empty, you’re more likely to be impatient with your kids or to miss an important deadline at work.
Self nurturing can take a lot or a little bit of time, but all of us need it! Why not think about some of the activities you find refreshing or encouraging, and try to incorporate them into your life today?
How to nurture yourself: 3 Main categories
In the upcoming selection of self nurturing activities, you might find yourself gravitating more towards physical ones, or maybe you need to focus more on your mental strength. Most of us probably could benefit from increasing our self-care and self nurturing in all of these parts of life.
Physical self nurturing activities
In one area of your life, you might want to consider self nurturing via your physical body. Even though some of these things may sound cliche, like regular exercise and taking naps, they’re truly beneficial in helping you to fill your cup.
Social self nurturing activities
As we take care of our bodies, let’s not forget to nurture ourselves in relationship to others. We’re not meant to live on our own little islands; we need community and social stimulation to be fulfilled and well-rounded women.
Mental and emotional self nutring activities
In the realm of self nurturing, our minds and our emotions play huge roles. Therefore, taking time to care for your mind, considering the thoughts you allow, and also making room for intellectual growth, is so important to self-care.
Learning some tactics for managing your emotions is also a form of self nurturing. It’s okay to have negative emotions sometimes, but we have to develop ways of accepting them.
When we get to the sample activities, some of them may hold benefits in physical, social, and mental aspects all at once. Just remember that you are worthy of taking time for yourself.
20 Terrific self nurturing activities
Are you ready to learn how to nurture yourself? Get started with these fabulous self nurturing activities!
1. Self nurturing through exercise
For me, and a lot of the women I know, exercise is their number one go-to of self nurturing activities. It can bring physical benefits as well as help you clear your mind. Whatever kind of exercise you like to do, it can do wonders for your self-esteem and make you feel invincible.
2. Learn to cook healthy foods
If you could use a little nutritional boost, your meals are an obvious place to start. Filling your body with nourishing foods instead of overly fatty or sugary foods will improve so many aspects of your life. Your mood, energy levels, strength, even skin, and hair can benefit from a healthy diet.
Of course, a healthy diet can also help prevent serious diseases like heart attack and stroke. By looking up healthy recipes or watching cooking tutorials online, you could nurture yourself to a healthier body, impacting every part of your life.
3. Be silly
No, seriously! Why are so many of us so serious all the time? Yes, we have important things to accomplish, but sometimes we need a little break. Studies even show that playful people may be better at coping with stress and solving problems.
Doing something small to make yourself—and your loved ones—laugh out loud is a great form of self nurturing. Kids love to be silly, but even grownups can get in on the fun. Sometimes you just need to jump in a mud puddle, have a tickle fight, or dance like no one’s watching.
4. Self nurturing through the five senses
Because we sometimes get so wrapped up in modern life, staring at a screen for much of the day, using all five senses may sound foreign. Think about how to nurture yourself using the sense of smell or some other underused sense.
Smell might mean using a variety of candles or aromatherapy. You could try a sound bath or just go for a walk to heighten your sense of hearing. Taste—could you try a new food, or just get a favorite comfort food to enjoy?
The sense of touch, obviously, could mean getting a heavenly massage. Perhaps for sight, order a print of a beautiful photo or buy a local artist’s handiwork that you can gaze at daily. Have fun with self nurturing activities for the senses—there’s so much to try!
5. Nurture yourself with quality sleep
We all could use more sleep. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you took a nap instead of working or doing housework or running the kids all over town?
Self nurture can mean listening to what your body tells you it needs. If you’re often tired, experiment with going to bed earlier at night, or taking a short afternoon nap each day. Sleep is already #7 on this 30-day self-love challenge, so why not try that and a few of the other suggestions?
6. Take a break from tech or social media
Although there are strategies you can use to ensure your social media habits don’t make you miserable, chances are you could use a break. One of the best self nurturing activities is to detox from social media.
While I enjoy certain parts of my Facebook experience, like photos of my friends’ cute kids, it’s often a big time-waster. It doesn’t usually leave me feeling fulfilled. It can be so healthy to take a break from all technology for a time, if possible, or at least from social media and lifestyle influencers.
7. Spend time with a friend
One of my favorite suggestions of how to nurture yourself is simple! Spend time with a good friend. Many of us saw how important friendships and social connections are, especially during the worst of the pandemic.
To give yourself an instant mood-booster, set up a time to get together with a friend. Try these fun free things to do with friends. In-person is wonderful if that’s available, but even long-distance friendships do best when we connect. A regular Zoom call to check in with each other can help shorten the miles between you.
8. Mend a broken relationship
Now, this one might sound painful. If you have a relationship that has declined or someone you haven’t spoken to in years, perhaps it’s time for healing. Although it’s normal to grow apart from people, especially if your priorities are different, that doesn’t mean you can’t remain friends.
Nurturing yourself isn’t always easy, but mending a broken relationship could help lift a burden you didn’t realize you were carrying. If you were wrong, it’s not too late to apologize. If you aren’t sure why a friendship faded, maybe you need to be the bigger person and reach out first.
(One caveat: if you’ve had to cut out a toxic person from your life, I’m not suggesting returning to that person. Follow your gut on this one.)
9. Join a group activity
Self nurturing activities can also be group activities. Find a local group of people that share one of your main interests. This could be pottery, cycling, volunteering, yoga, writing, banjo-playing, you name it.
A group activity is awesome because instead of sitting around with strangers trying to have a conversation, you’re doing something. You have an instant connection. Maybe you’ve been in a focused period of working overtime and you finally found an hour or two a week of free time. Go have fun and make some friends around a shared experience.
10. Ask for what you need
I heard a podcasting couple recently say that one of the hallmarks of their marriage is “Ask for what you want.” I’m amending this one to say you can nurture yourself by asking for what you need (or want).
So often, we think the entire world rests on our shoulders. If we don’t take care of it, it won’t get done. But please, try to find someone in your life you can ask to help you. Whether that be your spouse, your friend, or even a colleague, ask for what you need. Sometimes we just need a little help!
You never know, you might be assuming you have to do all the shuttling of kids to their karate or music lessons. Maybe you could carpool and split driving duty with another parent, or your spouse could take over once a week.
11. Find a mentor
Now, let’s consider another form of self-care that involves asking for what you need. Are you a freelancer building a new business? Do you want to learn from somebody in your field who’s a few years ahead? Then it’s time to find a mentor.
Of course, you can network continually via LinkedIn and other platforms, with multiple people. But perhaps you’re ready to take it a step further and begin meeting seriously with one mentor every week or month. Look around your professional circle and think about who you admire.
Your mentor can help you brainstorm, solve problems, rehearse for professional situations like job interviews, and so much more.
12. Learn from books, podcasts, and more
There are so many educational resources out there, many of them for free. To nurture yourself by building up your mind is easy if you look for books, podcasts, blogs, articles, and speeches. Anything you want to learn more about can be useful.
This doesn’t even have to be a “serious” form of exploration—you may nurture yourself by simply finding a funny podcast that helps you relax. Self nurturing can come by simply taking an hour every Saturday to read a fiction book for fun. Find what makes you happier.
13. Improve your financial wellness
Wherever you are in your financial journey, one way to nurture yourself is to improve your financial wellbeing. If you’re in a lot of debt, that’s got to be stressful and frustrating, so taking steps to get out of debt will be a huge improvement.
You might want to learn how to budget more carefully or increase your 401(k) or IRA contributions. Maybe saving for a fun vacation is a goal of yours. These all count as self nurturing activities because they benefit you.
14. Keep a gratitude journal
Big surprise, I’m big on gratitude! Being grateful has so many benefits for our lives, so why not incorporate gratitude into your daily life with a journal?
Showing gratitude in written form can help you to become more aware of good things in life. Maybe you’re not known for your journal-writing, but you can find a different gratitude challenge that’ll bring you joy.
15. Try something new
Novelty can be scary, but it can also surprise us. When you open yourself up to new experiences, you explore the possibility of finding something you enjoy. Or you may hate it, but you end up conquering a fear.
Part of self nurture is recognizing that you are human, and you don’t have to know how to do it all. You don’t have to be good at everything right off the bat, either. Maybe now’s the time to learn how to start investing as a beginner, and change your financial future with what you do today!
Here are some hobby ideas to think about: ax-throwing, teaching, canoeing, learning a language or instrument, drawing, or changing your car’s oil. From the fun to the mundane, new tasks challenge us and show us what we are capable of.
16. Practice compassionate self-talk
The way we talk to ourselves impacts the way we move throughout our day. If you often find yourself thinking (or saying aloud) things to yourself that are negative, try to be compassionate.
Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to your best friend. Instead of harsh criticism, you’d offer encouragement and support. You can try these confidence-building exercises to show yourself more love and nurture yourself.
Meditation sounds intimidating to some people because we’re so used to a constant state of busyness and chatter. It’s not always easy to sit quietly and focus on your thoughts.
I like to call this “mindfulness” rather than meditation sometimes because then I’m just trying to live in the moment. An attitude of mindfulness allows you to fully embrace the present, instead of worrying about the future.
18. Help others
Now, this may sound like the opposite of self nurturing, but it’s true that doing something kind for another person can increase your own happiness. Research shows that people who are kind have a generally higher well-being.
Your self nurturing activities may be very simple, like bringing coffee or lunch for someone at work. It doesn’t have to be hours of work or a regular commitment to a volunteer position. Self nurturing can happen by simply being kind and loving to people who cross your path.
19. Snuggle with a pet
Do I even need to explain this one? Probably not. If you have a pet, you likely enjoy snuggling with said animal. Of course, this doesn’t work with a fish, but if you’re a cat or dog owner, an extended cuddle time is a great form of therapy.
Our dog makes us feel amazing because her love is so unconditional. If you don’t have a pet, perhaps you can get the same benefits by going to a friend’s house and petting Fido for a few minutes.
20. Do whatever you want
Okay, let’s have some fun with the last idea on the list. After all, this is your choice of self nurturing activities, so you should choose what you enjoy doing. This may change from day to day. You just need to listen to yourself and follow your instinct.
When the time is right, you can learn how to nurture yourself by doing what you want. Rest, play, listen to music, walk in nature, re-watch The Office for the twentieth time. The important thing is to do what you want, and feel no guilt about taking this time for yourself!
Take out time to nurture yourself!
Self nurturing is such an important part of being a well-rounded and contented person. Even though you might not be able to do self nurturing activities as often or for as long as you’d like, don’t neglect yourself. You’re an amazing woman and you deserve to explore what makes you happy and leaves you fulfilled.