Words of encouragement, a loving touch, laughter and play, creative pursuits, fun and games, these are all things we hunger for and need to give to ourselves in order to feel balanced in life. Unfortunately our society is so task driven that we often don’t take time for these nurturing activities. We may be willing to nurture our children, our pets and our loved ones with time and attention, but how much do we offer ourselves?

It’s almost as though the minute we stop our stream of activity and to do’s in order to relax, play or rejuvenate an alarm bell goes off with a silent warning: "the prisoner is about to escape". Suddenly, a list of shoulds comes spewing into our minds releasing a fountain of guilt for daring to take time for ourselves.

Yet, when we can get past our internal taskmaster and take the time for self-nurturing, our minds and bodies finally relax. We find our center, our mind clears, our emotions calm, and our soul expands. Giving to ourselves is similar to being nurtured as a child; we feel safe, loving and joyful. We then have so much more to give back to others.

Reflect on these questions to gain insights:

* What feels nurturing to you? How often do you nurture yourself?

* What gets in the way of you nurturing yourself more often? What would you have to say 'no' to in order to nurture yourself more? What would you have to say 'yes' to?

* Imagine not taking part in any nurturing activities for a month? How would you feel and how would this affect other areas of your life? Now imagine giving yourself extra doses of nurturing activities for a month. How would feel and how would this affect other areas of your life?

Try these inspiring ways to nurture yourself:

* Make a list of as many nurturing activities as you can think of. Notice which ones involve others and which ones you can do for yourself.

* Choose at least three nurturing things that you can do on your own and three that involve others and plan to do them this month. If time is an issue, schedule them into your calendar.

* Whenever you notice your inner 'taskmaster' trying to control you with shoulds, to do's and guilt, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and tell your taskmaster to take a vacation. Then ask your true self what it is you really want to do, and honour that.

Author's Bio: 

Gini Grey is a Transformational Coach, Writer and Spiritual Teacher. She is the Author of the book, "From Chaos to Calm: How to Shift Unhealthy Stress Patterns and Create Your Ideal Balance in Life", and the CD, "Create What You Want In Your Life". For more information or articles, visit ginigrey.com.