Ahead of the long weekend, Grace McGettigan reflects on why showing ourselves (not just other people) kindness is so important in 2019...
We live in a world where everything is high-pressured; from targets at work to maintaining a social life; from curating the perfect Instagram to staying healthy. Not only do people expect great things from us, but we also expect the best from ourselves.
In the daily rush to get things done, it's easy to forget to live.
Answer this: when was the last time you did something nice for yourself? More importantly, did you feel guilty about spending that time away from housework, your job, and the kids?
Just as your computer slows down when you have too many tabs open, your brain can't function when there's too much going on. Allow yourself time away from the chaos to focus on you; self-love is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, a break from the madness can clear your mind; making you better-able to carry out the tasks at hand.
With that in mind, here are five easy ways to practise self-love and be kinder to yourself today:
1. Accept yourself
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, it's part of the human condition and we need to embrace ourselves for them. In her book Kindness: Change Your Life and Make The World A Kinder Place, Gill Hasson says, “Stop trying to be perfect. Stop with the 'I'm not enough/ I'm not good enough/ clever enough/ strong enough/ attractive enough' type of self-talk and replace it with 'I am enough / tomorrow I can strive to be more, but right now I'm enough'."
2. Say positive daily affirmations
Empowering mantras, such as ‘I am talented’, ‘I am worthy’, ‘I am confident’, have profound effects on the conscious and unconscious mind. They’ve been scientifically proven to make us feel better about ourselves and can even lead to increased productivity at work. Jennifer Lopez swears by them, with her personal favourites including, 'no limits but the sky’; ‘life is short, live your dream’, and ‘I am youthful and timeless at every age’.
3. Quit comparing yourself to others
Remember that social media is a highlights reel; it shows everyone’s best bits. But very few people actually live the life portrayed online. Hasson adds how comparing yourself to others puts the emphasis on the wrong person. We need to focus on ourselves rather than on Mrs So-and-so down the road. Your skills, abilities, contributions and value are entirely unique to you. They can never be fairly compared to anyone else. So, compare yourself to yourself." It's better to be inspired by others and do your own thing, rather than strive to be the same.
4. The power of ‘no’
Don’t take on too much. Whether it’s work-related or in your social life, signing up for too many things will burn you out. Know your limits and be willing to say ‘no’ when your schedule is full (or if you just need some time to yourself). If you're losing sleep, missing out on hobbies or finding yourself working from home; something needs to change. Always put your mental health before everything else.
5. Indulge yourself
Phrases such as 'you only live once' and 'life is for living' get thrown around a lot on novelty mugs and t-shirts; and they're true. There's nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of 'me-time'. Hasson says, "No matter how small it is, have something you can do that you enjoy. Whether it's reading, baking, going for a walk, having lunch with a friend, gardening, doing a crossword; do whatever it is you like to do." This is particularly important in times of sadness, loss, or stress. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend. You deserve it.
Photo: Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash
Read more: What is sophrology? How to relax in the 21st century
Read more: Still exhausted? Eight steps for a better sleep tonight
Read more: Feeling blue? Five ways to be happy according to the experts