How kind are you to yourself? Often times we get so busy with things in life that we fail to stop and take care of ourselves. We work to provide for our families and to maintain our daily living, we talk to our friends to be their sounding board in the midst of their crisis, we do so much and at the end of the day, we sometimes end up forgetting about us. Learning to be kind to yourself can be challenging because it requires you to set appropriate boundaries with yourself and hold yourself accountable for the things that happens to you. You may have to set boundaries with that friend who calls often and dumps their stressors onto you. You may have to force yourself to leave work on time, despite having a pile of work that’s left uncompleted due to having a heavy caseload. Being kind to yourself requires you to learn some coping skills and actually implement them into your daily routine to increase your emotional well-being. Listed below are 10 ways that you can be kind to yourself to increase your quality of mental health:
GET UP 15 MINUTES EARLIER. Do you find yourself rushing out of the door, speeding down the highway, and rushing to your desk every day to make it on time for work? What does this do to your mental wellness? How many people did you yell at? How angry did you get at the slow driver who had the audacity to get into your way and slow you down? Getting up earlier gives you time to pace yourself, allowing for you to remain calm and not have to rush or induce feelings of anxiety and anger that can be projected onto others.
AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE. Have you ever been excited about something and shared your news, only to have that one person attempt to ruin it by pointing out the negative thing that could occur. What about that person who never has a good day and nothing good ever seems to happen to them. Avoiding negativity is a great way to remain positive, which will encourage you to do something that may be intimidating for you. It allows you to focus on good outcomes and look forward to change.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Learn how to become your biggest fan. You have known yourself your entire life and you are your very own expert. You know your potential! Give your worries a break and believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to. The key is remaining realistic and steering away from unrealistic expectations.
PLANT A TREE. Planting can help clear your mind from any stressors because you are focused on doing a physical activity. As you are digging a hole to plant your flowers, your mind is on figuring out how much dirt to dig up so that your plant can adequately fit, vs. thinking about the tasks that need to be completed at work. Breathe in the fresh air, swat away some bugs, and get to digging!
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR APPEARANCE. Have you noticed your response to yourself when you first wake up in the morning and you walk past the mirror? You may rarely pay yourself any attention as you brush your teeth or walk towards the shower. Now, imagine yourself fully dressed. Your hair is groomed, you may have thrown on some makeup or cologne, and your clothes are freshly ironed. Your response to your reflection in the mirror is completely different. You may now have to drag yourself away from all that goodness staring back at you! You feel great about yourself!! When you feel great, your response is positive, which influences positive feelings, thus leading to a positive mental health.
TAKE A BUBBLE BATH. Regardless of your age, there is nothing that feels better than sliding your tired body into a tub filled with warm water in a dimly lit room that smells like an allergy free garden! Add a soft sound of smooth jazz and all of your stressors for today will melt away as you clear your mind of your triggering events and focus on only the sound of the music, the aromas from the garden, and the warm bath that massages your skin like magic!
PRACTICE SMILING. A smile brighten your face and gives you a pleasant appearance. Have you ever noticed that when you smile, your face seems to change and your body relaxes? Pay attention to how you start to feel. Pay attention to your thoughts. Why are you smiling? Forcing yourself to smile means that you have to think about a happy experience that occurred to you, one that you enjoyed and that perhaps keeps you motivated. Smiling keep you healthy as it forces you to think and behave in a positive manner.
EXERCISE EVERYDAY. Exercising is a great way to learn how to stop yourself from excessively worrying about things that you cannot control. When you’re jumping rope for 10 minutes, your mind is not going to be focused on a triggering situation. You are going to be focused on not tripping over the jump rope, trying to pace your breathing, praying to your higher power for mercy because of the ache in your calf muscles, and you are likely considering how much water you may need to survive this jumping exercise. The bonus is that you get to build muscle and tone up while working on your mental wellness.
DO A BRAND NEW THING. Try something different. Challenge yourself to do something new once a week to get yourself used to change. It could be something as simple as cooking an egg differently. You may make your omelet with just shredded cheddar cheese and ham. This week, you may add tomatoes, onions, spinach, and a pinch of paprika. Who cares if it comes out horrible. The most important thing is that you tried something new and the next morning, you can try it a different way. You will get used to doing something new and you will learn how to cope with things that may occur unexpectedly as you move towards change.
SCHEDULE PLAY TIME INTO EVERYDAY. It is a must that you engage in self-care!! This means that everyday you intentionally set out some time to focus on you by doing something that you enjoy. Learn to put yourself first! Pull out a good book and read a few chapters per day. Watch a funny comedy. Treat yourself to lunch. Get a pedicure. Take a walk in the park. Lounge on the couch and watch Netflix. Your mental wellness is contingent upon you taking care of it and attending to it’s needs. It requires you to be healthy by participating in self-care.
Be kind to yourself. Set appropriate boundaries and hold yourself accountable for your own happiness!