Nurturing Your Soul

Number Yourself: Count yourself as an important individual. You are important. You need to be counted and acknowledged especially when you are helping others. One way that you can do this is by taking proper care of your self (having enough sleep, food, exercise and relaxation). Then you will have enough energy to help others and live the rest of your busy life. Sounds too basic? It's supposed to be. It's the basics that hold daily life together.

Understand Yourself: Think about how this fits into your self-care. If you understand when you are hungry, then you will eat and renew your energy. This happens with any other activity, such as sleep or exercise. Likewise, when you know your needs, you can take action to meet them, instead of ignoring them, and making your helping work and your daily life that much more difficult.

Respect Yourself: Believe in yourself, your talents and your abilities. Focus on the times in your life, when you know that your actions or words helped someone else to change their life. Helping others is not about being compensated by material rewards. It is about being compensated by experiencing intangible rewards, including high self-esteem, confidence and satisfaction of a job well done.

Take Care of Yourself: To help others, you do need to take care of yourself. I've already mentioned some ways that you can do that. Work toward maintaining balance, emotionally, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually in your life. Then you will be able to help others with more energy as well as not depleting your own resources.

Unburden Yourself: It's important to have support, during the fun times as well as the tough times. A wide base of support may consist of friends, family and community resources (e.g. church, synagogue, support groups and healthcare professionals) and keeping a personal journal. There are many resources available to address difficult areas that arise while doing your work. It's important to maintain a balance when you are helping others. Make sure that you are receiving support from others on a regular basis.

Rule Yourself: Work regularly toward keeping your internal life in order. Reach out to your support system. Reach out if something is out of order, if you have a question or concern, and yes, to celebrate the good times, too. If you have a particular spiritual discipline that you follow, make sure to devote some regular time to that practice as well as to the community that shares that practice with you. This will energize you and help you keep your focus on the bigger picture.

Embrace Yourself: Hug yourself. Take mini-breaks and vacations. Plan for fun times for yourself and with your favorite people. Laugh. Take a humor break. Act like a child. Surprise yourself. Surprise yourself again! Keep smiling.

Copyright 2005 Writer's Eye Advisory Service

Lael Johnson, owner of Writer's Eye Advisory Service, offers creativity coaching services and additional writing resources. This article may be reprinted as long as the text is unchanged and the author is notified by placing the title of the article in the subject line.

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