A serious question and an invitation to pause for a few moments to reflect on your answer. What are you doing to feed your growth? When you think about this what comes up for you? What does the word ‘growth’ evoke in you when you apply it to yourself? A list of CPD activities? The next step in your career? A task of one kind or another? A feeling of overwhelm or a feeling of excitement? What happens when you place the word ‘feed’ in the sentence? It changes the feel doesn’t it when we apply it to ourselves in this context. How are you feeding your growth?

I have been exploring recently the work of Dawn Breslin who has created a well-being process called Harmonizing, which “sits between the models of coaching and counselling“. It was a question she asked on a video I was watching. It resonated with me, evoked an embodied response and when that happens it’s a sure sign to get curious. To ask yourself what was it about the question which made it land in that way?

Her premise was that in order to grow we need to create the conditions for growth. The work of nurturing and feeding ourselves is central to growing. To be in tune with not only when to move forward and strive but also when to slow down, refuel and replenish. It’s yin and yang, feeding and growing. Something which I suspect we all know in our heart but perhaps find a challenge to put into action.

Life can be incredibly growth drive. We have targets to fulfil, waiting lists to clear, promotion to strive for, papers to write, income to generate. On the domestic front the day to day management of life has to happen. Add in caring responsibilities and our desire to support others and the picture looks crowded.

Where do we find time to feed and nurture ourselves? We know we need to and yet we don’t. We expect to thrive and be at our best by keeping on going.

In my coaching practice our inability, as women, to care for and nurture ourselves feels like a constant companion. I know from coaching many women working in health and social care settings that our drive to ‘care for’ the needs of others is strong and value ladened. But what if I was to say to you that in order to serve others we need, first, to nurture and care for ourselves. In order to grow we need to feed ourselves and create the conditions for growth.

Walking the Talk.

Quite literally. At the moment, on a personal and professional level, the topic of self-care feels important. I have taken the decision therefore, to focus on it in a series of blogs. To share and also to explore what self-care looks like for me. I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

A starting point

This morning I woke up at 5am which seems to be a frequent occurrence at the moment. My usual response is to get up, make a hot drink, check out the news headlines (often a depressing start to the day) and then dip into emails and work. This morning my head felt crowded and I felt constrained and contained in the house. The sun had risen and was breaking through the clouds, and something was calling me out, ‘The start to your day doesn’t have to be like this.’ With thoughts of self-care, nurturing and feeding my soul coming to the fore of my thinking I pulled on my wellies and went for a long rather wonderful walk. 

It’s hard work but someone has got to do it

When I got home I felt so much better. I had created head space, I had taken time for me. But it is hard work which requires us to create some intention and to hold fast.

To paint an honest picture, when I got home I put the kettle on, made some toast and started to eat it on the go whilst heading towards the computer with my coffee. My heart said, ‘no, just a few more minutes’ and once again, ‘it doesn’t have to be this way’. I put my toast on a plate and took the coffee into the garden. I sat drinking it surrounded by the fragrance of honeysuckle reflecting on the things I’d seen on my walk.

It maybe took 10 minutes out of my day. The world didn’t cave in and my heart said, ‘Thank You’.

I would love to hear how you feed your growth? What do you do to create the right conditions to grow? 

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash