5 Ways to be Kinder to Yourself
Written by Alexa Wilson
Self care is not one size fits all, but it is important for everyone to take time to step back and make your well-being a priority. Honestly, I recently realized that I need to treat myself better. A week ago, the actual thought "if I buy these sunglasses, I'll probably feel better" ran through my mind, as if retail therapy is the solution to anything (definitely rolling my eyes at myself right now). Things are not self care, understanding yourself better and learning how to work with yourself is the key. What that looks like exactly is up to your situation, personality, and needs, but here's a few simple actions you can take to move in the right direction:
1. Keep Your Body And Mind Active
Of course, we fully support a mental health day dedicated to chilling out and not doing anything in particular, but even a small act like taking a quick walk can make a difference if you're not a gym person. Not only does feeling physically well contribute to overall mental health, physical activity can help you release tension and clear your mind. I read recently that idleness is the enemy when it comes to overcoming anxiety. Even if you’re doing something calming like a bubble bath, because you’re mind is unoccupied, there’s nothing to distract you either physically or mentally from self-critical thoughts.
2. Clear Out And Organize Your Space
Disorganization can signal a high propensity for creativity, but it can feel overwhelming if it gets out of hand. Something like clearing out your closet and donating the clothes you don't use anymore or reorganizing your work space is a great way to feel like you’ve pressed the reset button. I don’t know if it’s just my Capricorn moon talking here, but organizing my space gets me to think clearly and motivates me to get more things done.
In essentially every post on self care, you’ll see a mention about meditation. There's a good reason for that--it gives you the time to clear your mind and leave whatever stress you have in your life behind for a bit. The great thing with meditation as self care is that there’s no right way to do it. If the traditional sitting-in-silence-and-trying-to-quiet-your-mind method isn’t a good fit for you, there’s more ways to find a moment of clarity in your day. Just find what works for you and what naturally clears your mind--whether that be cooking, doing yoga, or listening to music. I've personally been finding a sense of zen in the ritual of doing a more extensive skin care routine every morning--if it works, it works!
4. Keep A Journal
Writing about your day is a good way to reflect and learn more about yourself and what you need. Again, self care is not a one size fits all and everyone needs different things when it comes to self care. Journaling lets you hear yourself out and you can put your feelings into words so that you can take a step in the right direction (this also helps with understanding your feelings). If you’re doing a good job at being kinder to yourself, acknowledge that and make a note of what is contributing to that. If you had a bad day, acknowledge that too. But instead of focusing on what went wrong, look at how you can improve it. And remember, the journey of self care is going to take time and it’s alright if it takes time to find your footing.
5. Do Something Kind For Someone Else
This is one that I think everyone can benefit from! As part of being kinder to myself, I also want to be kinder to other people. If the news of the world is stressing you out, do something to take an active part in improving the global and local community--volunteer to plant trees, donate to small business owners in vulnerable communities with Kiva, pay it forward when you go buy your coffee in the morning, buy a homeless person a meal. It's easy to be cynical right now, but you'll feel so much better knowing you're doing something about it.