I’ve been thinking about the word nourish lately. What it means when it comes to nutrition, creativity, self-care, business, and even lead generation. I guess this time of year is the time when I reflect on my goals in every area and what’s working and what’s not.

I used to divide my task list each day into sections: Work, Self, and Home. It helped me remember that the tasks I did to take care of my household were important, and not just impediments to running my business. The Self section came after that, when it became clear that taking care of myself was equally as important as my business and my household. If I’m not engaged in some creative pursuit, my performance in all other areas suffers. If I’m not taking care of my health, my productivity declines.

A image of four triangular raised beds, mostly empty, with a few plants scattered here and there.
My ever-growing medicine wheel garden, early in the season.

This time of year, I look at each of those areas and think about what my goals for the year were and how did I do? Did I get closer? Did I change my mind about any of them? Did I just ignore them and coast along?

After a visit with my doctor last week, it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t making progress toward some of my health goals, which made me reconsider the work I’ve been doing in that area, which led me to the word nourish. As I began to plan some shifts in how I eat (I’ve been following a low carb, keto-ish plan for a few years, and I’m going to move to more of a whole-food, lower fat plan), I also began to think about what else I might need to spend some time nourishing.

Google tells me that there are two definitions of nourish:

1. provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
“I was doing everything I could to nourish and protect the baby.”
2. keep (a feeling or belief) in one’s mind, typically for a long time
“he has a long nourished an ambition to bring the show to Broadway”

Those two definitions can apply to all three of my focus areas. There are certain business goals I’ve nourished for a long time (I’m happy to tell you that one of my longest-held income goals is within reach this year). This week, a friend and I have blocked out some time to talk about our business plans for 2022, and help each other figure out how to reach our goals.

Of course to meet those health-related goals I need the right nourishment, and not just when it comes to food. That definition includes “other substances.” In my case that means the right mix of exercise, medications, and rest. The best formula of all of those things changes over time, and it’s helpful to consider what’s working and, for me, right now, what’s not.

Nourishing my creative self is one component of good mental health. The thing that’s been missing here is creative writing. I’m trying to build that habit back, but it takes consistent nourishment!

Do you find that proper physical nourishment improves your creative life? Do you have long-held goals that you keep well-fed?

As a gardener, I know how important it is to keep the soil nice and balanced and full of nourishing substances. If I can manage that, surely I can manage to nourish all the facets of myself, too.

Two triangular raised beds, surrounded by saw dust, filled with healthy-looking plants.
One section of the garden, later in the year.

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Changing Your Mindset

If you sit and watch people at the mall or in a big box store or even the grocery store around 6 pm on a workday, chances are you will see some angry looking folks. Sometimes it seems like the default setting for most of us is irritated, depressed, stressed, or tired. I know so many of my friends often complain about being unhappy and depressed all the time. Usually, this is caused by work commitments and other life stressors that we might have. Over time, these negative feelings can build up, causing us to feel much more stressed and depressed. When we start feeling like this, we should really try and find some treatments as soon as possible. Some of my friends have recently spoken about websites like where people can get some cannabis. It’s believed that cannabis can provide people with feelings of happiness and energy, giving people a break from their usual feelings of being tired and irritated. If anyone else is feeling depressed, it might be worth looking into some cannabis. Alternatively, there are lots of other things that people can do to relieve these feelings that we all seem to experience.

I’m guilty of feeling like that too. It’s just easy to focus on the bad stuff. Lack of milk for my coffee, an unpleasant surprise from the dog stuck to my houseshoe, or loud noises early in the morning all set an unpleasant tone for my day. Sometimes it’s a whole series of that sort of niggling stuff that just aggravates and makes me grumpy.

When I realized that most of my days were spent feeling uncomfortable or unhappy or generally less than optimal, I started practicing a few techniques that have helped.

SmilingTree Writing – I’ve always wanted to work from home and/or for myself. It may take time and it may not even work out in the end, but SmilingTree gives me something concrete to do that will hopefully advance progress toward that goal. For more than a year now, I’ve been doing some kind of writing almost everyday.

Grateful Lists – For months, I was writing a quick list of five good things each day and emailing it to a random contact. Sometimes the list was silly with items like oatmeal cookies on it, and sometimes more serious – a happy marriage – but it always forced me to think about good stuff for a few minutes. On bad days it was most helpful and had the power to change my attitude.

“Is this important in the big picture?” My family is probably sick of hearing this because when there is tension in my house, it inevitably comes out of my mouth. Will whatever is bothering you be important in five years? One year? Next month? Next week? Tomorrow? How upset should you get over something you probably won’t even think about tomorrow?

Get some exercise. This is common advice, but sometimes it is so hard to follow. It really does change my attitude, though. Taking a walk or working in my garden or even jogging on the treadmill helps when I’m tired or grouchy. Endorphins – gotta love ‘em.

Talk to a friend. You don’t even need to talk about whatever is bothering you. During the last 3 or 4 months I’ve been lucky enough to be able to have lunch with several different friends. In each case we went to a restaurant I hadn’t been to before, and it improved my mood unbelievably every time.

Maybe this is all trite and worn out advice, but it is what has worked for me. Each one helps in a different way – SmilingTree provides a creative outlet and a professional satisfaction, considering the big picture helps keep family stuff in perspective, and getting some exercise is a physical way to relieve stress.

No doubt there are people out there doing more effective and more creative things to keep themselves focused on the good stuff. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as it helps you feel good.

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