15 In wellness

Self-Care, Freedom & Living More Fully

Remember back in November when, as part of the Dean Street Society Happy Hour Blog Tour, I shared about how I say “no” to overwhelm? Well, today I’m doing something fairly similar.

When Katie Den Ouden reached out to me about joining 24 other women in coming together to support, celebrate and promote each other in sharing our journeys to truly feeding our souls, freeing their bodies, and loving our lives as part of the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour, I absolutely without hesitation said, “YES!” After all, that’s pretty much what I’m all about.

Self-Care, Freedom & Living More Fully // thoughtsbynatalie.com

So, as part of that today I’m answering a few questions related to self-care, freedom, and living more fully…

What self-care habits are non-negotiables for you? How do you find time for self-care?

Over the past five years, self-care has become very important in my life. After struggling to break free from the bondage of anorexia (and later the reverse upswing that can happen during recovery, binge eating), I realized that I needed to be intentional to nurture my body and soul on a daily basis, rather than neglect it and cope with the aftermath of my broken life.

Since I work from home, a slow start to my morning is something I gift myself each day. Sometimes, of course, life happens and that just doesn’t work out. But when I allow myself time to wake up, sip on a hot beverage, eat a good breakfast and read something inspiring before starting the day, my body and soul feel nourished. In addition to that, I also do quite a bit of journaling, which I’ve found is my favorite way to process emotions. Lastly, I try to eat a whole foods, mostly plant-based diet and exercise in some way each day—be it a walk, a jog or a hike.

Time will always be limited, so it’s important to make the choice that certain parts of self-care are essential and then make the time. Could I get a ton more done during the day if I didn’t have a long, leisurely morning or go for an afternoon jog? Definitely. But would I be emotionally, spiritually and physically at my best? Probably not.

How has your relationship to your body (and thus your life) changed over the years?

Growing up, I always had a very positive body image, but when I left home for college, I suddenly discovered that my body could be more valuable if I changed it and made it more like other peoples bodies. In reaction to a lot of stress in my life, I coped by starving my body and overworking it (not to mention barely sleeping). It was a dark time that’s hard to reflect on—I felt worthless, sad and empty. There were years of my life when I don’t remember laughing—ugh.

Then, at some point later in college, I decided to make a change. It was a long and difficult road to health, but a worthy journey for sure. There were a lot of tears and challenges, but little by little, I came back to myself. I started to see that my body needed to be cared for, and that that looked different on any given day (sometimes that meant nourishing food and exercise, other times that meant taking a day off to rest). I also started to view my body through a more functional lens, as well as stopped all of the negative self-talk in my head. Seeing the way my body helped me run or lift groceries or hug my loved ones helped me love and honor it. And finally giving myself enough grace to not criticize myself has truly worked wonders in the way I view my body.

What do you wish women would talk about more?

Though of course there is a healthy trend happening where women are getting more authentic, I still wish that we would spend more time being honest with one another. I am not someone who has an issue with social media being a “highlight reel” of people’s lives—I think it’s fun to see the beautiful moments and the high points in the lives of those I care about.

That being said, when we’re together as women, face-to-face, or in any kind of one-on-one communication for that matter, I wish we would open up with one another just a smidgen more. I wish we would dare to talk about hurts and failures and brokenness—not in a depressing, woe is me sort of way, but just in a real, honest, open way that makes us feel more known and connected.

What gives you the courage to let go of worries, habits and grudges that no longer serve you?

For me, it’s been entirely related to my spiritual life and the transformation that’s taken place in my life (slowly) as I’ve come to know God more and more. I am a really selfish person naturally (aren’t we all?), and also a bit of a worry-wort. But by gaining perspective through seeing a bigger picture, and also through understanding more and more about who Jesus was and how he lived, I’ve come to see that worry, bad habits and old grudges do nothing but lock me down. They’re burdens we do not need to carry, and life feels so much lighter, freer and happier when we can just make the choice to let them go, be more loving, and live more fully.

Self-Care, Freedom & Living More Fully // thoughtsbynatalie.com Who do we get to hear from tomorrow?

Tomorrow on the blog tour we’ll be hearing from Robin (who you should be familiar with from the pre-Christmas Pilates program!). She also happens to be a contributor for Nellie, so to say I’m fond of her is an understatement. So, so excited to hear her thoughts on the topic of living life more fully. Here are her details…

WEBSITE thebalancedlifeonline.com
FACEBOOK The Balanced Life
INSTAGRAM @thebalancedlife
TWITTER @balanced_life_

P.S. Does this whole thing really appeal to you? If so, be sure to sign up for Katie’s (free) 21-day Freedom challenge starting February 1st. You can get all the details here.

Self-Care, Freedom & Living More Fully // thoughtsbynatalie.com


  • Reply
    Christine B.
    January 20, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Love this post, Natalie! As always, your words are comforting and encouraging! What an exciting 24 days ahead! Looking forward to reading from the rest :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Thanks Christine! Glad you enjoyed it. I’m right there with you—can’t wait to read what the other women have to share on the topic!!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Great post. I look forward to reading the rest of the series too!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Love the honesty, simplicity, and beauty of this! So thankful to have you in this blog tour. A morning routine has been absolutely key for me in establishing, at the beginning of the day, the way I want to feel and thus the choices I make in nourishing me throughout the day. I still hear the voice in my head that says… “put self-care aside and DO MORE. Be more. Prove yourself.” But then I hear another more loving voice (and now your voice :)) saying “slow down. enjoy life. nourish yourself. it’s better for everyone.” thank you for this Natalie! xo

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 21, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Yes, totally. It’s always a struggle and sometimes i feel guilty about the time I give myself at the beginning of the day—but then I can see so clearly how different things play out when I neglect that form of self-care and realize just how important it really is!!

  • Reply
    Ali Grace
    January 20, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Yes, yes, yes! I resonate with so much of what you wrote. Thanks for sharing this. I’m definitely going to sign up for the 21-day freedom challenge!

  • Reply
    Audrey Michel
    January 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Beautiful to see someone take a similar path with a different struggle. Totally agree on the morning routine, and thanks for the permission to rock my 8:15 start to the day! Thrilled to be a part of the tour and to learn about so many amazing women. Awesome start Natalie. I’m a fan. xoxo

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Wonderful perspective. I’ve struggled my entire young life with anorexia. I didn’t realize I was anorexic until I lived with my husband and he’d eat all THREE meals EVERYDAY. As a writer {a sensitive one at that}, I continue to struggle with self doubt every time I write. I take it out on myself and don’t see myself as worthy, which manifests itself in how I take care of myself. That’s one of the main reasons that attracted me to your site and magazine: It’s OK to want to take care of yourself and to spend the time necessary to take care of yourself. Thank you for your positive message!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Another great post, Natalie. Thank you for sharing! I am big on the self-care routines as well and it’s fun and helpful to get a glimpse into someone else’s routine. And thanks for kicking off this tour! I’m honored to follow this post. xo, Robin

  • Reply
    Morgan Day Cecil
    January 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    So great to “meet” you Natalie! Beautiful site. Love your thoughts too. :) Thanks for kicking of the Skinny Dip Society blog tour. Really loved reading your words on what gives you the courage to let go of worries, habits and grudges that no longer serve you… Jesus! Yes!! Thanks for giving Him glory. Grace & Peace to you!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I love that you have a slow start to each day. What a wonderful way to nourish yourself. I always use the excuse that there’s no time but you’re right, you have to MAKE the time.

  • Reply
    Alicia | Jaybird Blog
    January 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Natalie, I’m so glad to have found your blog through the SDS tour. This is a beautiful post and the portion about slow mornings is a self-care ritual I’ve always found valuable. It adds a lot of time to my getting ready routine, but I love waking up with time to make coffee (pour-over or French press), cook a hot breakfast, and sit at the table slowly eating before getting ready and leaving for work. It isn’t possible every day but each time I have a training or meeting that gives me a bit of a later start, I always slot in a special breakfast!

  • Leave a Reply