How to Nurture Yourself On Mother’s Day and Everyday, So You Can Nurture Others
Whether you are a mother or grandmother to young children or adult children, you have one of the most demanding roles in the world. The same is true if you are a caregiver to your own aging mother or other relative. That is why, today on Hadley Court, we want to offer you some ideas, as we approach Mother’s Day on Sunday, for nurturing yourself so you can nurture others.
If you are like many who give of themselves, you may hesitate to spend time or energy giving to yourself. Just remember, self care is not about self-indulgence; it is about replenishing and restoring yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually so you will have the love, energy and wisdom you need to give to others when they need you most.
Think of self care as a personal retreat, a time to step away from the demands and routines of caregiving for an hour or two, half a day, an entire day or even a weekend. You can personally retreat by doing something as simple as listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or seeing a movie. And, we hope these Five Ideas for Self Care will be helpful:
1. Create and Enjoy A Private Sanctuary Space
A bathroom like the one above, designed by Suzanne Kasler, is one of the most refreshing private spaces I’ve seen. The white, silver and cream color scheme is soothing, and the tub is so inviting for a candlelight soak with tea or a glass of wine. I also like that there’s such a perfect spot for the dressing table, a place to “gather yourself” and prepare to look your best for the day ahead. Your private space may or may not be a bathroom, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way it should look. Surround yourself with the colors, artwork, furnishings and things of beauty that speak to you and nurture you.
2. Keep a Journal.
A journal is a place where you can pour out your heart and your struggles with complete honesty. There’s something about writing down your feelings that unburdens your emotions and takes a weight off. And, be sure to include all the joys and triumphs in your life as well, especially as a parent. Looking back on these in later months and years can give you the courage and hope to face present challenges.
You may even want to keep a “thankfulness journal,” recording at least one thing each and every day for which you are thankful and for which you can say a prayer of thanksgiving . There’s nothing like a thankful spirit to keep your outlook positive and affirming so that you are the kind of person your children–and others–want to be around. A beautiful journal that is lovely to look at, lovely to touch and to write in, makes the experience of journaling all the more uplifting. A wonderful source for beautiful journals like the one above is paperblanks.com.
3. Take A Tea Break.
Tea is a therapeutic, romantic comfort beverage known for its health benefits. As Faith Greenbowl put it so poetically:
“Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
Inhaling ancient times and lands,
Comfort of ages in our hands.”
Tea-time can truly be a replenishing experience, if you make it one. Have a tea party! Use your pretty china, include a pastry or fresh fruit. Or, sit back in your favorite chair with your tea and read for 30 minutes. An excellent online source for tea is Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders. They even have gift packages for Mothers Day and other special occasions, such as this beautifully prepared tray featuring Black Currant Tea, Black Currant scone mix and Black Currant Jam:
4. Enjoy The Outdoors
There’s no therapy like fresh air and sunshine, surrounded by the sounds, sights and fragrances of nature. Your journey outdoors can be simple, short and sweet. Take a walk, visit a park or sit on an outdoor bench for awhile.
For me, there is nothing like a peaceful walk in the woods to get me grounded. I think it must have something to do with my memories from childhood, when I played for many happy hours in the woods near our home with friends or cousins.
You could even find a flowering labyrinth near you and take an hour or two to walk through it for an enriching meditative and prayerful experience.
This lavender labyrinth, located in Germany, is a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220. Today, there are labyrinths in thousands of churches, hospitals and parks all around the world. If you’d like to find one close to you, click here.
If you’ve never experienced a labyrinth, you may think of it as a maze, but it is not. On the labyrinth’s path, there is only one way in and one way out. You can’t get lost, but you will journey through it, and be led in and out, in and out, before you reach the center…similar to life’s journey. Many find it helpful to bring their journal with them, and leave a bit of extra time at the end of their walk, to reflect on the thoughts that came to them as they travelled the path.
There are three stages of a labyrinth walk. The first is Purgation (Releasing), which is letting go of the details of your life and opening your heart and quieting your mind. The second is Illumination (Receiving). When you reach the center, linger. It is a place of meditation and prayer. The third stage of a walk is Union (Returning). This is when you join, or surrender to, God, your higher power. Each time you walk a labyrinth, you become more and more empowered to find and do the work for which your soul reaches.
5. Take A Day-Cation.
Getting away from your routine to do things you enjoy and love for an entire day can work wonders. While a day at the spa, a backyard pool or on a beach might be a “dream” day-cation, you can find just as much pleasure and benefit from simple, low-cost activities. Be intentional and plan out your day. You could start out with breakfast in bed and the luxury of reading the newspaper or journaling. Then, take a walk or go to your favorite park. Have lunch at your favorite restaurant with a friend who always uplifts you. Have a manicure or pedicure, and take in a movie. End the day with a special candlelight dinner and the luxury of reading or calling a friend or relative to catch up with a long conversation.
Seek to make this day as electronics-free as possible. While you may need to take your phone for safety reasons, discipline yourself not to check email or do any work online.
It’s been said that, this side of heaven, mothers are the best example of unconditional love. That said, unconditional love begins with loving yourself unconditionally. A loved heart will naturally give love. By loving and caring for yourself first, you can love others and create a home for them. As Alexandra Stoddard has said, “Feeling at home is really feeling at home with yourself.”
We wish you a Happy Mother’s Day weekend and please stop in and visit us again, this Sunday, for a very special Mother’s Day post from Leslie Hendrix Wood.
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Founder, Editor In Chief of Hadley Court
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.
Photos attributed in the blog.