What does nourishment mean for you?

A pot of warm soup? Your classic stew recipe, or the ever-comforting roast dinner your parents served up on a cold winter’s day?

A glowing room, fire roaring, as you come in soaked from the sheets of rain outside?

Or a late night chinwag with your best friend after a hellish day at work?

Every now and then, I will be filled with the desire to make a big pot of lentil and sausage stew. It’s nothing exceptional, but it’s the kind of dish that fills the heart and soul and makes me feel full, healthy - nourished.

And it’s when that impulse comes on - the niggly part of me that starts saying ‘make the stew Claire’ - that’s when I know I’ve been overdoing it. I need to take a step back and take care of myself.

That feeling itself is mysterious. It isn’t conscious, but a feeling that rises up from the depths of my unconscious, bodily self. And I’ve learned over the years to listen to it, because it is a first warning to help me head off illness, exhaustion and unhappiness at the pass.

Maybe it’s because there’s an autumnal nip in the air, but the idea of nourishment has been on my mind lately. Like many people, I juggle a lot - work, a part-time degree, relationships, family. We live in a contradictory culture where our obesity and eating disorders highlight our dysfunctional attitudes to our bodies and ourselves.The concept of nourishment may sound simple, but finding the time and space to take care of ourselves in truly fulfilling ways - whether through cooking, or getting enough sleep, or maintaining our most nurturing relationships - can be difficult.

Nourishment comes in many forms, and it can feel different for all of us. Which is why I’d ask you to sit down and ask yourself what it means for you. What, and who nourishes you in your life? What does fulfilling work look and feel like for you? What do your most nurturing relationships feel like? And how do you know, from deep in your body, when it’s time to slow down, and take care of yourself?

Written by Claire Lamont

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