It’s a strange concept, being kinder to yourself, you’d expect it to just come naturally. After all we spend most of our time with ourselves, so why wouldn’t we be kind to us?
Unfortunately, we tend to be very negative and self-deprecating. We tell ourselves that we need to lose weight, we’re not eating right, we need more exercise, we’re unorganised, we need to earn more money…it’s a never-ending cycle of negativity!
And we need to stop, right now.
What does it mean to be kinder to yourself?
Being kinder to yourself is something that becomes increasingly more difficult when your mental health needs some TLC. It’s always going to feel like a hardship for someone who is dealing with anxiety, to take time for themselves, as they will believe that something else, way more important needs doing, right now.
But it doesn’t.
You’re the important thing that needs taking care of right now.
It’s ok to say ‘no’
Remember there is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’, you’re allowed to not want to do something.
Are you always the go-to for your friends when they want to vent? Are you always roped into moving days, hosting parties, planning get-togethers! As much as this can be fun and, we all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes, but is there someone for you to fall back on?
Friends and loved ones should always understand that when you make it clear that you’re unavailable or need to rest, then that is exactly what you mean. And if they don’t understand, then it might be time to find some new friends.
This can be a tricky one, but if certain individuals drain you or make you feel guilty or negative about yourself then you need to remove that toxicity from your life or at least reduce the amount of time spent with them.
This even goes for family members. As brutal as that may seem it may be necessary. There isn’t a rule book saying that you have to spend time with someone just because they’re family. Why inflict the negativity upon yourself?
If cutting them out of your life completely makes you uncomfortable then at least just change the situation. Give them 45 minutes of your week for a cup of coffee, or half an hour on the phone. That way you can be prepared for the hostile situation and then be sure to plan something nice for yourself afterwards. Maybe some alone time.
We all only have so much we can give to each day, so be sure to reserve some energy for yourself.
The cycle of not being kind to yourself
Feeling useless and negative often becomes a vicious circle. You want to feel good and that involves taking care of yourself but your brain is telling you that you’re rubbish and pointless and because you already feel rubbish, you believe it!
And so, the cycle begins again.
The journey towards being kinder to yourself can begin at any time of the year, any time of the week at any minute of the day. And it can be the smallest of changes or a huge dramatic gesture, either way it will be the start of a new outlook for you.
Being kinder to yourself builds confidence
It will also become a great confidence booster, if you’re happy and comfortable with yourself on the inside it shows on the outside. Confidence makes you glow and with that glow comes a more relaxed version of you. When you’re relaxed the day just seems to flow ever so slightly easier and those annoying little hiccups can be brushed away. This doesn’t mean to say you won’t encounter stress and chaos ever again, I’m afraid this isn’t a miracle cure for a perfect life but it is a way to create a more serene life.
Breathwork can help
If you’re always stressed and rushing around to the next appointment, task or chore, just stop.
Take 5 minutes and 10 deep breaths.
If that’s all you can muster for today then so be it, it’s better than nothing.
Eventually it will become second nature, you will notice that you’re not giving yourself time to unwind and you will just stop and breathe. An excellent way to introduce this into your day is with meditation, I know it’s not for everyone but a guided meditation in the morning is a great way to start the day relaxed and you’ve already done one thing purely for yourself!
Your idea of being kinder to yourself might be totally different to everyone else’s, but that’s the beauty of it! It doesn’t have to be anything like anyone else’s.
It’s entirely personal and should be something that makes you less stressed and more relaxed and purely for yourself. At times like this it is 100% acceptable to be selfish, in fact it’s not only acceptable it’s imperative. Selfishness has always been viewed as being a bad thing, a negative trait but there are times when you should be thinking solely about yourself. And not feeling guilty about it.
How can you begin to be kinder to yourself?
Make a list of all of the ways you think you could be kinder to yourself; it could be taking 5 minutes every day to meditate, the next day you might have a long, luxurious bath with lavender and candles, it could be a big piece of chocolate cake, a walk in the park or something bigger, like planning that trip of a lifetime or maybe a weekend away.
Whatever it is, do it for you and with zero guilt because if you’re going to feel guilty about it then you’re not being kind to yourself. That’s why it’s best to start off small and work your way up. Taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit with a cup of tea is hardly going to cause the end of the world.
Why be kinder to yourself
Why be kinder to yourself?
This might sound harsh but if you’re not kinder to yourself nobody else is going to do it for you. Friends and loved ones might tell you that you need to rest and relax and slow down but the only person who can physically make you do this is yourself. And if you don’t take time out to rest and rejuvenate, your body will pick its own time and you won’t have a say in the matter.
Whichever way you choose to be kinder to yourself is perfectly acceptable. Always remember; you cannot pour from an empty cup and if you wear yourself out, you’re no good to anybody.
Be kind always, and kinder to yourself.