I enjoyed spending time with a friend hiking some local hills this morning. It was perfect weather and we got to enjoy some pretty wildflowers and scenic views. I so appreciate carefree timelessness with friends. I don’t often have a lot of free time being a wife, mom, volunteer, and student pursuing a second career. However, I recognize how restorative it is for me to spend time connecting with others and exploring my neighborhood.
What nourishes or comforts you? It’s important to understand what brings you joy or soothes you. Identify what that is and make a list you can reference periodically. In times of stress, you can choose healthy coping mechanisms from that list or at least be aware of what you can do to nourish and restore yourself. In “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brene Brown refers to having this list as comfort wisdom. Brene Brown asks her readers to distinguish between what we use to numb ourselves versus what comforts and refuels us. It helps to have this self-awareness, particularly because it’s easy to confuse numbing or escape for comfort.
I developed my “comfort wisdom” list years ago after taking an online Oprah course with Brene Brown, compliments of my employer’s women’s resource group. The list of what comforts me still applies today. At the top of my list is “intimate sharing and time with loved ones”. Also included is “travel & exploration” and “hikes, walks, and exercise” among other activities. I am grateful I was able to incorporate multiple items from my comfort wisdom today, particularly before I begin an intensive nursing program. I’ve discovered I have more joy and peace in my life when I use my comfort wisdom.
Identify and develop your own comfort wisdom. Once you make that list, regularly incorporate items or activities from that list into your life. You may find you have to schedule time for it. My friend and I planned this hike over a month ago and even had to reschedule a couple times due to illness and then out-of-town guests visiting, but we were committed to spending time with one another. Everyone has their own comfort wisdom; something that refuels me may not refuel you. As an extrovert, I love hanging out with groups of friends and meeting new people. In contrast, my introverted husband would be exhausted doing the same thing. Honor yourself by using your comfort wisdom and refueling periodically – I know it’s a practice I’ll need to do for myself in nursing school and in my future career!