Primary Nourishers - What Are They And How Can They Make Us More Fullfilled?
We've all heard of the term "nourish", but what does it really mean? And what sorts of things nourish us? For us, being nourished is such an important part of our lives, we put the word at the beginning of our business name! According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word Nourish means "to provide (someone or something) with food and other things that are needed to live, be healthy and/or to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger". We agree wholeheartedly with this definition. However, we would like to expand on it, so that you can understand our holistic view of this term and help use this to enhance your health, fulfillment, vitality and joy.
Primary Nourishers (also referred to as our Primary Foods) are areas in our life that nourish us but are not the foods that we eat (these are referred to as our Secondary Nourishers or Secondary Foods). As Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches, we consider the four main categories of Primary Nourishers to be - Career, Relationships, Physical Activity and Spirituality. Primary nourishers are essential for our body and soul as they are the areas in our life that make us feel good, happy, loved, taken care of, successful, abundant, energetic, healthy, connected and grounded. According to Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (from which we are both graduates from!), "you can eat all the leafy greens you want but if don’t like your job, are unfulfilled by your relationships, or are lacking daily movement or other forms of self-care, then you will be undernourished in life. Primary Food is the concept that nutrition, career, relationships, spirituality, fitness, and pursuing your passions play an equal role in creating wellness and should all be addressed when exploring health."
So, keep on reading for some of our top tips on how you can improve your level of nourishment in each of these four areas, so that you can add more wellness, fulfillment and joy to your life.
"Do what you love. Love what you do". Words to live by. Literally. Work is a HUGE part of our lives. We spend more hours doing our job than, well, pretty much anything. So why would we spend this precious time doing something that makes us unhappy, stressed or bored? If you are one of the lucky ones to be happy at work, then you've got this one covered! But, if you're like many others (who truly dislike what they do) perhaps it's time to start considering a change? We are in no way saying to quit your job and become unemployed without a plan. Rather, start thinking of small steps that you can do to either begin to bring more satisfaction into your current work life, or start thinking of ways that you can begin to look at making a change and following your passion. Maybe it's a coffee date with someone who you admire and have always dreamed of doing what they do. Or maybe it's writing a list of the things that you are passionate about and seeing if any of these things align with your current work. If you find these are not in balance, perhaps you can consider ways to integrate your passion into your job. Is there a new project that you can submit to your boss? Or, is there a group at your work that you have always wanted to join? There are many ways to find more balance and happiness in this area. But the first step is to assess your level of satisfaction and, if needed, be willing to make changes.
It's a bit of a no-brainer that the quality of the relationships with the people around us will have either a positive or negative impact on our lives. If our relationships are healthy and vital, then that will bring us an abundance of nourishment whereas, if they are unhealthy we will feel unfulfilled and undernourished. Therefore, it's essential to nurture your relationships, whether they be with your partner, your kids, your family or your friends, so that you feel more fulfilled in this area of your life. A big factor in this tends to be time (or lack there of). The fact is, we're all busy, and finding time to spend quality time with family and friends can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Our advice is to organize your week so that you put aside time for those relationships. Ask a friend to join you for a coffee or walk, or plan a date night with your partner. If you've got kids, organize a family activity out of the house (ie away from TV and Ipads!) where you can spend real time together. Even a few minutes of week of nurturing your relationships can make your level of happiness and fulfillment rise to new heights. We promise!
We all know how we feel after we finish an awesome run on a beautiful day or when we complete a challenging yoga or fitness class. We feel high on life, with a sense of fulfillment and joy! That's because activity causes our body to release endorphins - those feel good hormones. Our bodies thrive on movement and this is why physical activity is one of our most important primary nourishers. So, take a moment to assess your level of satisfaction in this area of your life. If you're already super active and feel great about it, then you're doing fantastic! If, on the other hand, you feel like you can improve in this area, that's okay too! It's important not to judge yourself, rather, try to find ways that you can make small steps to add more physical activity into your life. It can be as manageable as taking a 30 min walk a couple times a week (ask a friend to join if you feel like company), or playing tag with the kids in the backyard (this always gets my heart rate up!). Another idea is to think of an activity that you have always wanted to try but never thought you had the time. Make time. Schedule it and try it. It will definitely be worth it in terms of how it makes you feel!
This area is a bit of a tough one because the term "spirituality" can be daunting or misunderstood to some. Really, all we mean by this is to work towards having a regular practice that makes you feel connected in your life. For some, this could be their religion and attending church. For others, it could be having a regular Yoga or meditation practice. Still, for others, it may be spending time in nature taking walks or learning about things that you are passionate about. The important thing is to find ways that you can build into your life that help you feel connected to yourself and to those around you. If you do this, we promise you will feel balance and nourishment on a whole new level!