Taking care of your own wellbeing is important, it’s not only good for your everyday mental and physical health, but it helps us to cope with stress or anxiety as it arises.
Here are our top tips for practicing self-kindness:
- Talk to yourself in the same loving words and warm tones that you would speak to a loved one. We often talk to ourselves unkindly when we are unwell, in a way we would never speak to others. We have unlimited compassion and empathy for others, so why not use some of that on yourself.
- Ask yourself what you need. Stop and ask yourself ‘what do I need in this moment?’ We often turn to things to keep us mindlessly busy – food, alcohol, drugs – so instead lets take charge of the situation and ask ourselves what we need that will help us. This can also help stop the cycle of mindless distraction.
- Drink water. It sounds like such a simple thing, but we underestimate the power of water. Dehydration upsets the balance of minerals in our body, which affects the way it functions.
- Let go of the things or people that don’t help. Sometimes practicing self-compassion involves cutting the cords of things that no longer bring you joy in life. That could be an idea, routine or a person. It’s ok to walk away from things, or limit your exposure to them, that are bad for your wellbeing.
- Declutter. Take ten minutes to go through your belongings, decide whether they bring you joy or usefulness, and if not you can donate them to charity or recycle them. You could also take some time to declutter your social media, get rid of all the negative people or haters.
- Nourish yourself. In times of stress, depression or anxiety, one of the first things that starts to go in our nutrition. We don’t eat enough, we overeat or we don’t eat the right kinds of foods. So treat yourself to a nice healthy meal, a takeaway or maybe something that you have always wanted to try but never got round to.
- Move! Find something you enjoy and go do it, whether that is walking, cycling, zumba, swimming or dancing. When we feel unhappy or sad, it can be hard to do the daily things, let alone get up and moving, but exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s good for the mind and soul too.
- Let go of the idea that things have to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, although sometimes social media makes us feel we should be. Never expect to be perfect, nobody is – you are unique and can’t be compared to others, the only person you should compare yourself to is you.
- Take a ‘you’ day. It doesn’t have to be anything exciting, it could be something as simple as a nice bath and your favourite movie. It’s about being present with yourself, and enjoying the small things.
- Send yourself a lovely bunch of flowers. When was the last time you received a much-deserved bunch of beautiful flowers? It might seem a silly thing, but think about how good it feels to send flowers to a loved one, or receive them from a loved one, this way you get the best of both worlds!
- Get creative. Use your imagination and whatever art form you choose to express yourself. Whether that is painting, writing, scuplting, making music – just create, and ignore your inner critic, as there are no right and wrong ways to be creative.
- Check in with your emotions. Get a cup of tea, take a comfy seat, and just sit with your emotions. The best way to deal with emotions is to feel them, and learn about them, instead of burying them or ignoring them. Once you know what your emotion is, ask how it will benefit you. Will it improve you, or is it negative and harsh? Stopping the cycle of internally ruminating on negative emptions is a crucial step to treating ourselves better.
- Forgive yourself. We often have recurring thoughts about a time with did or said something that we regret, or that left us feeling ashamed or embarassed. Use those as a learning exercise, forgive yourself and move on. Give yourself the same compassion and grace that you would extend to a loved one in the same situation.
- Make a list. Write ten things you love about yourself, a list of things you are proud of doing or achieving, or ten things you want to go and do. These can be useful to look back on when you are having a bad day, to remind you how amazing you are.
- Find your happy place. What’s the one place where you feel completely at ease, happy and peaceful? For some people that’s home, for others its the beach or forest. When you are goign through a difficult time, visit your happy place – if you can’t get there, close your eyes and visualise it. Think about all the details, the smells, the sounds, they way it makes you feel. Make it a habit to regularly visit or vision your happy place.