MIND YOURSELF: The Importance of Self Care

MIND YOURSELF: The Importance of Self Care

This article is the second of a series of articles on mental health from our partner Turn2me

All too often we listen to this critical inner voice that disciplines us, is never satisfied and it can get really tough if we don’t catch it in time. Everyone has some negative self-talk but before the constant self-criticism becomes gruelling, we should start taking better care of ourselves. 

We are all allowed to make mistakes, nobody has to be perfect. But we often judge ourselves with overly critical thoughts and inner negative self-talk. We activate our body's own threat system and trigger a stress reaction. We are not very kind to ourselves.

With a view to coping with individual stress, it is particularly important to learn to accept yourself and thus to be kind and loving with yourself…be self-compassionate. 

There is no single behaviour that goes with being self-compassionate. Depending on your

circumstances, very different types of behaviours will be helpful. 

We can break compassionate behaviours into three categories: 

  1. Minding ourselves
  2. Taking care of others  and 
  3. Taking care of business 

We are minding ourselves by purposely engaging in self-soothing activities, which is a priority when it comes to self-compassion. Self-soothing may involve things like participating in nurturing activities that give us a sense of warmth, being cared for, and can help us get through tough times. It is important to pre-plan these regularly into our week, and have specific activities in mind that can be easily used as required when we are struggling emotionally. 

When we are behaving compassionately by taking care of others we can also strengthen our compassionate side. Think of how you can show kindness to a partner, family member, friend or stranger, and notice the impact that your kindness has on you and the other person. 

Behaving compassionately can also require courage and strength as we need to take care of business. This means facing problems and taking action rather than avoiding, giving up, procrastinating, escaping or numbing our feelings, isolating ourselves, being passive or aggressive, and not forgiving others. As a rough guide, when the threat system is being unreasonable and oversensitive, try acting opposite to what it is telling you to do.

When making changes to our behaviour it is important to plan what we are going to do and when we are going to do it. Building some self-care activities into our daily or weekly routine can help us to be more compassionate with ourselves. 

 IDEAS FOR SELF-SOOTHING ACTIVITIES:

  1. Make a nice meal or snack for yourself
  2. Enjoy a favourite drink (non-alcohol)
  3. Have a picnic
  4. Meet with a friend for coffee, lunch, a walk, etc.
  5. Phone a friend to chat
  6. Take a walk in lovely surroundings
  7. Look at beautiful art or scenery
  8. Go to a beautiful place
  9. Enjoy time in the sunshine
  10. Go to the beach
  11. Light a candle
  12. Watch the stars
  13. Put on soothing or enjoyable music
  14. Enjoy the sounds of nature
  15. Sing
  16. Use a favourite perfume or lotion
  17. Enjoy the smells of nature or flowers
  18. Have a bubble bath
  19. Have a long shower
  20. Have a massage
  21. Pamper yourself
  22. Soak your feet
  23. Gently brush your hair
  24. Do your nails
  25. Read a good book or magazine
  26. Watch a good movie or TV show
  27. Pat your dog or cat
  28. Hug yourself
  29. Hug someone else
  30. Imagine a relaxing scene or safe place
  31. Do some relaxation or meditation
  32. Do some slow breathing
  33. Smile to yourself
  34. Laugh out loud
  35. Take a break

By taking care of ourselves and practising self-soothing activities, we develop an attitude that expresses compassion and appreciation for ourselves. When we value ourselves, we automatically treat ourselves well, we take our own needs, feelings and resources seriously and automatically work on our desire to not only stay healthy physically, mentally and spiritually, but also to be happy and fulfilled.

Treat yourself with appreciation and care and create moments of pleasure. Whatever you choose as your personal soothing-activities - celebrate what you enjoy and enjoy it as intensely as possible! 


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