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8 ways to be kind to yourself

You are always busy looking after everyone else - but are you paying enough attention to your own wellbeing?

We all have busy, stressful lives and with so much going on all the time, it is easy to forget that also you need to take care of yourself.

When you neglect yourself, you will soon start feeling run down and getting ill. Your mental health will suffer as a result. So you need to be kind to yourself!

Being kind to yourself – or self-care, as it is increasingly referred to - means looking after your mental health and physical wellbeing and taking time away from the everyday stresses of work and family life.

Here we have a look at how you can be kinder to yourself:

Take a bath

A hot soapy bath is a wonderful way to relax.

Take half an hour, some luxurious bubble bath and a few drops of essential oils and have a good long soak.

If you need relaxing essential oils, try vetiver or frankincense, or if it is invigoration you are after, go for a citrus oil such as petitgrain or bergamot. Baths don’t just feel relaxing - they are actually good for you too!1

Get an early night

As well as helping our bodies to recover from the day, sleep also helps us to recover from mental exertion.2 Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for total wellbeing. If you struggle to get a full eight hours, there are lots of things you can do to get a good night’s sleep.

Avoid caffeine in the evening, declutter your bedroom (this will help to declutter your mind too!) and avoid blue screens such as phones, tablets and televisions right before bedtime.

Do something you enjoy

We often neglect the things we love to do in favour of working hard. But making time for your hobbies can really help you to feel good.

Why not spend as little as 10 minutes each day doing something you really enjoy?

Try learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, completing a jigsaw puzzle or just reading a few pages of a good book.

Meditation

You only need a few minutes of quality time to practise effective meditation.

Meditation helps to restore calm and reduce stress. Try sitting for five minutes to focus on breathing deeply and slowly through your nose.

Whenever your attention starts to wander, bring it straight back to your breath.

Meditation can help with wellbeing and mindfulness, allowing you to be fully present without overthinking or overreacting.

Exercise

When you are doing exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain to trigger a positive feeling in your body.

Adding exercise into your day also gives you a sense of routine which can really help your mental health.

There are lots of different types of exercise, from gentle stretches and yoga to a brisk walk outside, or even high-intensity interval training and weight-lifting.

So there is bound to be an exercise that you will enjoy. You do not need to go to the gym to do exercise - you can do it at home, outside in a park, or take a run around the block.

As The Body Coach Joe Wicks always says, you will never regret a workout!

Take some time for yourself

Having just a quiet five minutes can do you a world of good.

Have a sit down with a cup of tea, look out of the window and switch off.

Do not bring your phone with you, or else you might be tempted to scroll through social media or the news - and it is good to have time away from those external pressures.

Go for a walk

Getting outside for a good walk can do wonders for your wellbeing. Walking may help to improve self-perception, self-esteem, mood and sleep quality.3

Walking also just gives you some quiet time away from everything else, so if there is something worrying you have the space to try and figure it out.

Walking is also great exercise. While you are being kind to your mind, you are also being kind to your body.

Affirmations

Affirmations can help you to overcome negative thoughts by helping you to focus on something positive.

Affirmations are positive statements which should be repeated often, especially when you are finding yourself feeling challenged.4

Try writing down three things that you love about yourself and your lifestyle, and repeating these when you feel stressed or worried.

By believing in these things, you can help to change negative behaviours and feelings.

If you want to find out more about the wonderful benefits of being kind to yourself, read about the importance of self-care.

Last updated: 5 February 2021

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