Self-Nourishing Acts


I hope that many of you have spent a week being on your own side – this can simply be internally in terms of your self-talk and how long you stay with positive emotions and experiences but it might also be an external practice where you physically and spiritually nourish yourself.

I’m urging you to try the practice of scheduling in Self-Nourishing Acts throughout your week (or even every day!) that nurture your physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. I first heard of this term many years ago in the book Positive Energy by Judith Orloff MD however it is only this year that I have written a list of my own Self-Nourishing Acts and begun to schedule these into my week.

Self-Nourishing Acts (SNAs) are activities that help you to recalibrate, relax and renew your energy and purely experience pleasure in your life. Because of the pleasure derived from SNAs they calm the nervous system and quieten stress response hormones. They can lift your mood and give you a more positive outlook – particularly if you are stuck in the daily grind of: travel to work; work all day; travel home from work; make dinner for the family; put kids to bed and sit in front of the TV (or stay up doing school work). Then repeat.

It’s important that when you participate in a SNA that you savour the pleasure of it – with all of your senses. This will truly keep you in the present moment experience of it. Don’t rush through it, worrying about what you need to get done – let it sink in.

My own list of Self-Nourishing Acts is as follows:

  • Reading in the hammock ( or just laying)
  • Meditating
  • A long yoga session at home or on the beach
  • Yoga Nidra
  • A hot bath with a face mask
  • Massage (even self-massage can be nourishing – though I prefer someone else to do it!)
  • A cup of chai on my back deck with some dark choccy macadamias (and my dogs)
  • Time with a friend without our kids
  • Surfing before work
  • Paddle-boarding or bushwalking
  • Going to Kiva Spa / Sauna at Mullumbimby

Some of these are rare treats but others I schedule in regularly and they cost nothing and as you can see involve time alone (particularly important if you spend all day with a class of children and go home to your own children). They are things I love to do and know that I feel good after. I truly value them and they make me feel more alive – bringing me back to my centre and re-energising me.

Your list of SNAs may look very different as different things nourish different people. We are not energised by the same things but I would recommend some time in nature as part of your list. Once you devise your list and begin to schedule them in, really take note of how your body, energy and spirit respond. Maybe something that starts off on your list (something that you think you love to do) might need removing after you notice your reaction to it – maybe it actually drains you.

I encourage you to start your list of SNAs this week (there is a template to print off in the ‘Resources’ section of my webpage that you can use). Stick it on the fridge and tick next to each one when you participate in it to keep track of how often you are nourishing yourself with things you love to do. I would love people to share some of their Self-Nourishing Acts here or on The Centred Teacher facebook page: I’d love to hear what nourishes your body, mind and spirit.

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