What is showing yourself kindness and why is it important?
In this day in age, in a world that is ridiculously fast paced it is so very vital to take a little bit of time just for ourselves. This is something I like to call ‘showing yourself kindness.’
It may sound a tad silly, as you might already consider that you are kind to yourself but how many of us can truly say, that at least once a day, we do something completely for oursleves? We may think that we are having “me time” when we have our nose stuck in our phone or on the internet but actually the truth is that we are most likely still interacting with other people or on some kind of social media platform.
What I mean by the term ‘showing yourself kindness’ is an act completely and wholly based on ourselves, a moment where we are completely in tune with just who we are, in that particular moment. This act will be something that gives us pleasure and makes us feel better about ourselves. It could be something utterly inconsequential such as painting our nails or drawing a picture. It could even be just sat for 5 minutes with our eyes closed, thinking about the day and relaxing. I feel that something as small as this act of self-love can boost how we feel and create a more positive outlook on life.
For people who suffer with mental health issues such as depression or bi-polar, the little acts of ‘showing yourself kindness’ can be as simple as just brushing our teeth in the evening or taking a relaxing bath. I have often found that in my times of mental struggle that these things go out of the window. We must make sure that we feel worthy enough to take some time out of our day and look after ourselves and not feel guilty!
Now these small acts of kindness don’t just make ourselves feel better. The knock on effect is beneficial to others too. Think about when you are excruciately tired and have had a really tough day at work. Your mind feels full with all the days catastrophes and you just don’t have any energy left. We have all been there right? It is at these times that we tend to snap at the people closest to us or not take our friends up on their offers of company or a night out. If we take a little time each day for ourselves and admit that sometimes this is an actual necesscity, not a luxury, the outcome will benefit not just us but those around us. Allowing self-empathy and understanding our need for inner peace has a follow on effect on those around us. Knowing ourselves facilitates a greater sense of how others may need help or understanding. If we learn how to truly understand ourselves, we can in turn , have a greater capacity for understanding others.
My top tips for ‘showing yourself kindness.’
1.) Sometimes an expensive body cream makes a real difference! I know it might sound ridiculous but picking out a luxurious body cream or moisturiser and then spending a small amount of time putting it on my body, rubbing it in and actually paying attention to myself, makes me feel really rejuvenated. Try it!
This is my current favourite body lotion by Champneys. It’s even named ‘a well earned treat!
2.) Take yourself out for lunch. Grab a novel, a magazine or a colouring book and take yourself out for lunch. The key here is you MUST be alone. This is your time to relax, to think, to be free with yourself and your own thoughts. You can order what you want and eat as slowly or as quickly as you like. I especially love to people watch whilst doing this act of self kindness!
3.) Write down your thoughts. It is so cathartic to get things out and down on paper or computer! These scribbles can be just for you, they don’t actually even have to make any sense. It is just the act of releasing them from your brain that is liberating and if you don’t fancy writing, try a dictaphone or the voice recorder on your phone.
4.) Meditate. I know for some they have an aversion to meditation, simply because it may conjure up thoughts of happy clappy hippies, chanting and bending themselves up like pretzels however the reality of meditation is that actually it can just be a small amount of time where you just try to be one with yourself and not be concerned with the outside world and all the complications, anxiety and negatives that come with it. Meditation allows us to let go of all the things we worry about and just be. I am a recent convert to meditating and even 5 minutes a day I find makes a huge difference to my mood. I am more calm, less stressed and am sleeping better. You can find lots of APPS you can download that have guided meditations and lovely relaxing music or you can find plenty on YouTube. Don’t be scared to try. What have you got to lose?
5.) Make a list. Now this idea has a particular place in my heart because in my family the majority of us are big list makers! I find that writing down the things I would like to achieve in the day means that I am making sure I am looking after myself. Now I don’t mean make a shopping list, I mean a list of things that are going to make you happy. Perhaps you want to start tap dancing or decide on your next holiday destination. It has to be things that are going to make you happier!
This isn’t of course an exhaustive or prescriptive list but they are some of the tiny things that I find truly help me to find peace and also allow me to have the mental space to consider others. Hopefully trying even one of these will help you too! Feel free to share your own ideas and techniques on this subject in the comment section below. Together we can create a more peaceful, happy and fulfilled life, not just for ourselves but ultimately those we interact with.