Hands up who feels guilty taking time to nurture themselves? When did you last take the time to watch a bee gather nectar, listen to bird song, be creative or just sit still?

Here in the UK we are enjoying a beautiful summer. Long days and warm temperatures encourages us to slow down and possibly change in how we occupy our time. For me it has meant more time in the garden, eating outdoors and practicing my exercise and meditation routine outside.

Often work and family commitments fill every moment of our days to such and extent that we rarely have time to just sit and be still. We become so used to our fast pace, and obsession with getting things done, that when we do get the chance to take a break it feels odd. We say to ourselves, “Shouldn’t I be doing something?”

There is nothing wrong with a strong work ethic or the desire to do the very best for family and friends, but over time we can lose our sense of self and become detached from what once gave us pleasure and made us smile. Sometimes the thought of not being productive fills us with guilt.

I spoke with a colleague the other day. We both run our own business and work extremely hard to help people achieve better health and fitness. We both have issues with our bodies: for me it’s a damaged spine from a horse riding accident many years ago, and for him it’s injuries sustained through marathon running. We both decided to work fewer days but to work longer hours to enable us to have time to work on our own bodies.

We have both found it difficult not to feel guilty on those days we are not working with our clients, and find ourselves apologising for not working and for having a day off! I have been nurturing stillness for quite a few months now, training myself to work on my own body, spend more time in meditation and foster a more balanced approached to work. I like it and it is beginning to feel good.

I find I can listen more intently to my clients, pick up on their anxieties easier and be more relaxed and intuitive in my work. I have always enjoyed my business but even more so now that I have realised the importance of nurturing myself.

If this resonates with you, try to give yourself a little time each day to do something that makes your smile. You will soon notice how good this simple act makes you feel.