“Nurturing Myself - Where Do I Start?”

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Congratulations to those of you who have decided to break free from the ranks of those who are pushing and shoving their way through commuter traffic and up the corporate ladder. Maybe your choice was based partly upon a realization that the adverse side affects of such a stress-filled life makes it too high a price to pay for so-called success.

But is your life any less stressful? Are you driving the kids from school to tuition to basketball while balancing meal planning, grocery shopping, keeping an eye on the maid servant, and housekeeping? Do you find that the time you meant to reserve for yourself slowly gets squeezed out of each day?

If you answered yes to these questions then you're in the same boat as those who fully intended to simplify their lives by dropping out of the rat race, only to find they're on yet another wheel in the maze. But take heart. It's not too late to jump off the treadmill and get back on the track to a simple yet fulfilling life.

The first and most important priority in a fulfilling life is realizing that not only do you need to spend time nurturing yourself, you deserve it. If you're like most women, you put your own needs somewhere between last and never. Most Indian women were raised to put others' needs before their own, including the spouse, children, in-laws, driver, tuition teacher, and friends. However, it is exactly this line of thought that creates an inability to truly be of service to those who you love.

Each of us has a reservoir of abundant energy from which to lovingly and creatively offer ourselves up to our community of friends and family. From that reservoir we provide an abundance of nurturing and sustenance. However, unless you are able to replenish the source, you will soon be giving from an empty tank, leaving yourself dry and vulnerable to depression and resentment.

How can I possibly take time for myself when I don't get everything done as it is?

Self-nurturing requires a commitment. Get out your to-do list and put "My Time" at the top. Now, block out a portion of the day in which you have reserved a block of time for a ritual of self-care. Open your planner or take down the calendar and schedule a daily appointment with yourself. Skip reading the daily newspaper or watching television and instead, make a plan to do something good for yourself.

Your "appointment" can be as simple as taking a luxurious bath, reading a good book, going for a walk (keep your mobile at home), visiting an art gallery, or writing in a journal. Whatever you choose, make it time for self-reflection without the interruptions of the outside world. Do it alone and with the intention of enjoying the sweetness of your own company.

Times are changing very rapidly. Just list down the activities your mother used to do when she was your age, and the way you go through your day. If you think there has been a sea change in these three decades, then be prepared for a surprise – lifestyles are going to change more in the coming ten years than they did in the last thirty. Only if you can visualize the possible changes can you prepare to face them and ride over the ups and downs.

The possible areas you need to be ready for are:

  1. Change in behavior of children, and their getting more independent faster
  2. Inflation, recession, drastic changes in both incomes and expenditure
  3. Work style changes, including flexi-timing, work from home, etc.

About the author

This website was initially conceived and designed by the late Sitaram N
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