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Nourish: A Framework for Restoring Yourself

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

What Nourishes You?

I recently came back from a restorative yoga workshop that left me relaxed, sated, and joyful. During the workshop, we set an intention. As I breathed slowly and fully, a word came to mind: Nourish. What did it mean to nourish myself? The weekend was full of connection, beauty, movement, meditation, good food, and calm.

After the workshop, I sat in stillness by the water. When you are still enough, you notice the little things, like the sunlight dancing on the water. It captivated me and left me feeling peaceful and connected. It also led me to consider: What nourishes us as humans?

Several ideas swirled in my mind. First, Richard Boyatzis' and Melvin Smith talk about the importance of hope, compassion, mindfulness, and playfulness experiences that renew us and are protective against the negative impact of chronic stress.

They note that these experiences need to be characterized by:

"1) a sense of inner peace and calm;

2) a feeling of excitement and eagerness in anticipating an activity or the future;

3) a sense of being in the present, not thinking about the past or future;

4) a pause or time out from what you were doing or feeling."

Boyatzis also highlights the importance of "dosing" renewal experiences EACH DAY, for at least 15 minutes. He states that renewal isn't as effective in one big chunk. Just like you can't eat junk food all the time, then eat all fruits and veggies for a few days, and expect that your nutrition is dandy.

The definition of nourish is to "provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition." If we consider "growth" to be physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, and "good condition" to be comprehensive, we need to look holistically and intentionally at many sources and modes of nourishment. Using food as an analogy, we need a range of foods to be healthy and sated. Fruit is good for us, but if we only ate fruit, we wouldn't be healthy and grow.

My hypothesis is that we need a complement of restorative approaches throughout our week in the following domains: our body; our mind/intellect; heart/spirit/soul/root; and our unique ingredient (I explain more about this below).

Nourish Framework

Here is a visual to help you conceptualize this holistic approach to nourishment. I list examples of different experiences, mindsets, and states of being that live in each domain, but it is worth exploring what you find restorative in each domain. Where do you focus most of your restorative time? What's missing? What is possible if you met your needs in each of these domains?

Nourish Framework

Unique Ingredient

I think of the "unique ingredient" like comfort food. We all know what comfort food is, but what we find comforting is idiosyncratic. It's something that we find uniquely supportive of our work, life, growth/development, and relationships. For your unique ingredient, consider:

*What fills you that isn't represented within the existing domains?

*This ingredient may offer energy, calm, or grounding; or it may help you tap into your strength or agency.

* Examples include: creativity, novelty, etc.

As an example, my unique ingredient is creativity. I must find ways to fill my creative well, or I don't have sufficient energy to write, work, and initiate challenging tasks. The energy of creative beginnings, is something I thrive upon. If my well is empty, I can't access this important energy, and I feel depleted. Therefore, I proactively seek out opportunities to restore my creativity. This article and framework resulted from feeding my creativity.

Power Nourish

These are experiences, mindsets, or states of being that call upon multiple domains, or even all the domains. As an example, meditation is a power nourish activity for me. My body works to be still; my heart feels open and generous, and I feel connected to my place in the world; my mind works to be spacious; and when I'm done, I am bursting with creative ideas.

I hope the Nourish Framework gives you food for thought in considering your strategies to manage stress and feel more energized and renewed in your life and work.

Action Steps:

1) Spend time with the diagram to digest it.

2) Make your own nourish diagram that shows your resonant restorative experiences, mindsets, and states of being in each domain.

3) What is your unique ingredient?

4) What are your power nourish experiences, mindsets, and states of being?

5) Look across your day, week, month. How are you incorporating all the domains, so that you are nourished?

Interested in learning more about working together? Book a complimentary coaching session with me, here! We can focus on ways to prioritize yourself, overcome obstacles to self-care, or other topics that can position you to get more of what you want out of life. Wouldn't that be amazing?

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