The ability to show ourselves the compassion and kindness we automatically extend to others, is crucial in maintaining our health and happiness, even reducing depression and anxiety.
Self-kindness is a hot topic at the moment and there is growing acceptance of the role it plays in our mental health and wellbeing.
While we may be aware of this fact, very often we dismiss it, believing that we simply don’t have time for self-love in our already busy lives. But this is a fundamental mistake! It's those of us who are the most thinly spread who are precisely the ones most in need of self-compassion! Self-love isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity and a basic human right!
Consider your friends and loved ones - no doubt you're first in line to sing their praises, pay them compliments or recognise their achievements and their worth. But, all too often, when it comes to ourselves, we are our own worst enemy! Perfectionist traits, the desire to please everyone and the misconception that to do something for ourselves is simply selfish, leads us to ignore our needs – a slippery slope to Burnout. What we must remember is that to have the ability to fill other people’s cups, we must first fill our own!
It's those of us who are the most thinly spread who are precisely the ones most in need of self-compassion! Self-love isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity and a basic human right!
Filling our own cup, however, is often too low down on our list of priorities – especially so at Christmas time, when our lives become even busier and yet more focused on the happiness of others. Self-kindness is therefore even more vital at this time of year!
So what exactly can we do to cultivate and nurture self-love and compassion? Essentially, we should treat ourselves as we would treat our loved ones. This may not come naturally, but fortunately, self-love is a skill that can be learnt and developed.
A good place to start is by tuning into your inner voice – reflect upon your internal dialogue and consider whether it is negative or positive. All too often we are our own harshest critics, but by consciously changing that inner voice to one of kindness and understanding, we can start to become our strongest supporter instead! Additionally, by taking time to really listen to ourselves, we can gain a better understanding of our true needs and of how we can fulfil them – laying the foundation for living our best lives, to the benefit of ourselves and others!
Here are 12 simple ways you can cultivate self-kindness over the Christmas period:
1.Make time to do something you love Whether that is a hobby, doing some exercise, getting out into nature or pampering yourself; make it a priority and recharge your batteries.
2. Say “No” when you need tODon’t feel guilty about saying “no” when something is not right for you. Preserve your energy supplies by defining your boundaries and sticking to them.
3. Count your blessingsTake a moment to reflect upon everything good in your life and embrace the feeling of gratitude.
4. Try Meditation
Use Mindfulness Meditation to slow down and cultivate positivity.
5. Make a Mantra
Practice positive affirmations by creating a Mantra (or two) and subconsciously improve your self-esteem.
6. Keep good company
Spend time with those who make you feel good about yourself – and avoid those who bring you down wherever possible.
7. Remember your body is your templeBe intentional about what you put in it, on it and around it.
8. Do some Yoga
Boost your self-esteem by reconnecting with your body and learning to love it again.
9. Prioritise sleep
Avoid burning the candle at both ends. Ensure you get enough sleep every night to properly recharge your batteries.
10. Write a love letter to yourself
Make a list of all the things you like about yourself, or try keeping a gratitude journal to focus on your blessings and amazing qualities.
11. Accept compliments
Don’t just brush them off. Really listen to and allow yourself to accept compliments in the manner that they are intended.
12. Let go of comparisons
Practice self-acceptance by resisting the temptation constantly to compare yourself to others. Embrace your uniqueness and love yourself for who you are.
Self-kindness means something different to each of us and there are many ways in which it can be cultivated. The important thing is to do whatever works for you and make sure you make YOU a priority this Festive Season!
By Gemma Coldwell - Contributing editor
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