By: Ryan Ashley
When most people hear the term ‘nourishment’ their mind usually goes straight to thoughts of food or their bodies. But did you know that there are a ton of ways to feel nourished in your life without thinking about your body or what’s going into it? So many of us have had some kind of stress or trauma relating to those two things, so here’s a list of nourishing practices that will feed your mind and soul – leaving your body out of it. Here’s a list of non-body self-care practices that will feed your mind & soul.
Seven non-body self-care practices that have nothing to do with your body
1. Clean Your Spaces
If you’ve never noticed how you feel after cleaning your home or car, let me tell you: It’s like being able to breathe again after holding your nose through a cloud of stink. Even if your space didn’t necessarily stink, cleaning up trash, re-organizing storage spaces & washing clothes, dishes and car dashboards can make you feel so much lighter. A 2011 study from Princeton University confirmed this when they found out that too much visual stimuli in your living space (i.e. clutter) can cause excess stress and overwhelm your mental body. So, clearing up your spaces can clear out some clutter in your mind, leaving you feeling refreshed!
2. Create Something
Maybe you like to craft with macrame or build sculptures with found objects. Maybe you like to write fanfiction about how Game of Thrones should have really ended. Maybe you’ve never done anything like that before! Whether it’s been a while or never at all, using your imagination and your own two hands to create something where there once was nothing can give you a huge sense of pride and independence, both of which can leave you feeling fuller than when you started. Plus, focusing on creative endeavors can help take away intrusive thoughts about everyday life.
3. Moderate Your Social Media Channels
Let’s face it: We all spend a good chunk of our time each day on social media. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, sometimes it just feels good to escape into the online world for a bit. But social media can also cause stress, so it can be really beneficial to comb through who you’re following and unfollow pages that post things that make you feel inadequate or self-conscious. If someone close to you is doing that, muting their posts is always an option, too. This way, you don’t hurt them by unfollowing, but you also don’t have to see their posts every day, leaving you with a feed that’s uplifting, motivating and fuzzy-feeling versus yet another source of stress.
4. Take a No-Technology Day
We now live in a world where everything we could ever want to know and anyone we could want to talk to is in the palm of our hand. Most of us even get work-related calls, texts and emails sent to our personal phones! With social media on top of that, sometimes it can get overwhelming and make us feel like we just have too much going on. According to a 2017 study on the connection between productivity and cell phones, we’re less productive, inspired and creative when we’re in constant data-consumption mode. Enter: A no-technology day. This is one of my personal favorite ways to practice non-body self-care. On one of your days off, put your laptop away and turn your iPad/phone off (or put it on Airplane Mode so you can still use your music app or play a game if you want to), and take a day to yourself with no outside interruptions. You’d be surprised how refreshing it can be to cut yourself off from technology for a day!
5. Volunteer Somewhere
Most of us do things for others very often, whether it’s helping a friend move, doing a little extra work for a boss or doting on your pet a little more when they’re not feeling well. But these types of acts of service can usually leave us feeling drained instead of sweet. Using that natural instinct to give by volunteering instead can give you a deeper sense of gratitude for your own lifestyle or sense of purpose and can make you feel like you’re actually making a difference in the world. Check out VolunteerMatch to get connected to an organization near you that you really align with.
6. Start a Gratitude Journal
We’re all guilty of doting on the negative things in life from time to time… some of us more than others. Journaling has always been highly recommended by mental health specialists as a way to help organize or clear those thoughts out. Try grabbing a blank journal and end the night by answering two simple questions: What were the highlights of my day? and What was I most grateful for today? Eventually, this gratitude journaling can turn that around and help train your brain to focus on more of the positives in life! If you take some time to go back and read past entries, it’s also an easy way to pinpoint the things in life that mean the most to you, which is a great form of non-body self-care!
7. Connect with Nature
Way back in the day – I’m talking way, way back, when “shelter” was a cave – our ancestors spent their entire lives outside. It’s ingrained into our DNA that “nature=home,” so it can feel extra soothing to spend some time connecting with it. If it’s not accessible to go on a major adventure, try taking a walk around your neighborhood or tending to a little garden. If the weather’s bad, open a door or window, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the rain. Maybe even sit close and let a few sprinkles refresh you. If you’re really stuck indoors, or you just want a nourishing homebody day, light a fire or some candles (because fire is a natural element, too!), re-pot a plant or run a bath.
There are so many ways to feel happy and healthy without having to focus on your body or deal with your diet. Feeding your mind and soul is an essential part of living a more positive and balanced life, and trying any of these non-body self-care options that you may have never tried before can lead to a healthier version of you on every level. Good luck on the journey, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment if you try some of these to let me know how they made you feel!