Balsam för själen. This Swedish phrase, translated to “conditioner for the soul“, or perhaps “food for the soul”, is what I and my two besties from university would often talk about. The three of us, one Swede, one Dane, and one Finn (me!), would sit at our favourite little cafe, Le Pain Quotidien on Marylebone High Street in London, and chat for hours whilst nibbling on our favourite treats. That in itself was the best possible food for the soul and I think of that time very fondly.
As we in the Northern hemisphere are getting deeper into autumn, and as we all, globally, have got the uncertainty and worry of a global pandemic upon us, it’s not easy to feel calm and content. That’s why I wanted to write this piece about the importance of giving food for the soul.
Think about it. You feed your body with nutrition so you have the energy to go on and live your life. If you’re in fitness training, or if you’re an athlete, you feed your body specific things to help with muscle recovery and growth.
Equally, you feed your mind with information so you can carry on learning and living. Hopefully, you also feed it with inspiration in some shape or form so you have the motivation and drive to go after what you want.
Finally, you feed your soul with fulfilment and love. Or do you? In all honesty, when was the last time you did something for yourself to feel better about yourself? When was the last time you did something that felt truly fulfilling and healing? Too often, I’ve heard the answer to this question to be: “I can’t remember”.
This is your opportunity to change it.
Giving food for the soul is just as important as feeding the rest of you. It’s the one feed that will move you from simply existing to fully flourishing. It’s the feed that will make you feel fully alive. Most importantly, it’s the feed that will remind you and your soul that you matter.
So, without further delay, here are eighteen ideas on how to feed your soul. Feel free to mix and match, edit, and add your own. After all, you know what feeds your soul the best.
1. Take a long hot aromatherapy bath whilst listening to healing kundalini music. Or a hot shower with some luxurious shower soap if you haven’t got a bath.
2. Bake a cake. Or cookies. Or banana bread (apparently this has been popular this year).
3. Cuddle a pet. Or a tree. Or even a pillow. Oh yes, you can also cuddle another human.
4. Snuggle up under a blanket with your favourite feel-good book. Or magazine. Preferably avoid the TV as it’s good to take a break from all the screens we stare at.
5. Do some free-flowing journalling with pen and paper. Write anything you want. Write anything that comes to mind.
6. Cook a soul-warming stew from organic veg and herbs. Get any fresh veg you can from the store and cook them together. Play with the flavours and see what happens.
7. Sit in the sunshine. Preferably, whenever you see it. It’s that time of the year when the darkness can really get to us so get every ounce of those rays that you can.
8. Organise a group video call with your besties. Have plenty of giggles and reminiscing on the agenda.
9. Go for a walk in nature. Touch the leaves of the trees. Pick up any final flowers you might spot.
10. Treat yourself to a bouquet of your favourite flowers. Every time you will walk into the room you’re in, you will notice the beauty, and appreciate it.
11. Dance in the rain. You will definitely have plenty of opportunities for this in the next few months.
12. Have a blanket day. That’s right. A whole day where you are under a blanket. Don’t worry, you can still take trips to the kitchen to get snacks and hot drinks. Rest assured, you’re also allowed bathroom breaks.
13. Inhale an aroma you love. A scented candle, your favourite perfume, or even smelling your child or pet. You will definitely find me sniffing my pup and horse.
14. Gaze at the stars. Even if it’s just from your window. Shut all the lights in the house and see what you can spot. There is nothing like stargazing to really put things into perspective.
15. Practice gratitude. Say thank you every day and say thank you for your life. Say thank you for everything that you have and are yet to gain. Even say thank you for what you have learned and for who you have become.
16. Do an act of kindness. Send a kind message to someone. Buy someone a thoughtful gift for no reason except for that you love them. Help someone with a problem they have.
17. Do something that makes you smile. Hopefully, most if not all things on this list do. But add your own actions here. What makes you smile?
18. Write a letter. That’s right, go proper old school here. Get a nice stationery set if you want and write someone you care for a letter. Write anything you want in it. You can even write it to yourself if you want.