It can be pretty difficult to be kind to ourselves a lot of the time. We are all our own harshest critics, and clothes not fitting, exercise not taken, awkward words spoken and jokes not laughed at can actually end up haunting us for waaaaaaay longer than they ever should. At Ditch the Label, we think everyone deserves a bit of kindness, especially when it comes to being kind to ourselves. So, we’ve teamed up with the wonderful people over at Simple who have also partnered with the fabulous Little Mix to bring you a list of 9 ways you can be kinder to yourself every single day, and some ideas to get you started.
1) Good thoughts
Sometimes our thoughts can run away from us a little bit and it can be easy to get caught up in a cycle of negative thinking. Being able to catch these thoughts when they sneak up on you can be a bit difficult, but once you do, you can have a think about why you are thinking that way, and try to change them. A good help for this would be to write them down every time you think something negative about yourself or others, and track how often it happens. After every time you do, write underneath the bad though what a good alternative would be. So basically:
- “Ugh my legs look gross today” could be “My hair is looking amazing and feels really healthy and soft”
- “That girl has really bad shoes on” could be “That girl has a really nice smile”
The more you start to change the bad thoughts into the good, the better you will start to feel about yourself and other people.
Taking ten minutes before bed or first thing every day to meditate, breathe and reflect on the day is a great way to combat stress, and give yourself a bit of space from bad thoughts and negative things in your life. Making it a part of your bedtime routine can also help you to sleep better, which will also help beat the stress away. It’s basically magic.
Not sure where to start? Yeah, it can be a bit intimidating given the amount of YouTube videos there are on the subject. We have a few ideas for you to get you started:
– Body scans
No, we don’t mean actually popping down the doctors for a scan of your actual body. This is something you can do to help you feel grounded in any situation and calm yourself down. Sit or lie somewhere comfortable, and think about 5 things you can see in the room, then think about 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Reconnecting with your senses and the place you are in can help bring your mind back to the present and stop negative thoughts and anxiety.
A quick and easy start would be to sit or lie comfortably on your bed and close your eyes. Breathe deeply through the nose for five seconds, and out again for five. Keep breathing slowly and deeply as you picture yourself lying on the bed. Then picture you on your bed in your room, and your room in your house, and your house in your street. Keep zooming out, keeping you on your bed at the centre of the visualization, until you can see the world, and space. It might sound a bit silly, but trust us – this visualization is a great way to get perspective on anything that is going on in your life right now.
– Progressive muscle relaxation
This one is pretty good for getting you to relax after a stressful day. Lie in bed before going to sleep and take a few deep breaths in and out through your nose. Then focus all your attention on tensing the muscles in just your toes, and release after a few seconds. Then do it for feet and ankles, then your calves, knees and basically just work your way up your body, breathing steadily the whole time. It might mean you end up pulling a bit of a funny face when you get near the end, but it is great for releasing tension in your body and slowing your whole self down.
Want to know a bit more about meditation? You can find our Top 10 Mindfulness Apps herethat should help get started.
So, you’ve probably heard of self-care by now, but probably not actually done much of it. Self-care is a great way to have a calm space where it is just you doing something calming or relaxing. There are loads of ways to practice self-care. You can go for a long walk, try out a new hairstyle, even just watch your favourite movie in bed with your cosiest socks on and a hot chocolate. Self-care is anything you want it to be, as long you are doing something that makes you feel better.
4) Tell yourself something good
OK, hear us out on this one. Every morning when you wake up, before you even shower or get ready, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself three good things. Talking to yourself and about yourself positively is a great way to change your thoughts. Try to come up with three new things every single day, like
- ‘I feel great today’
- ‘My smile is beautiful’
- ‘I am going to absolutely smash (insert school/college/work here) today’
- ‘I am a great mate’
- ‘I can do this’
We know it sounds totally weird and not cool, but it is an awesome way to make you feel better. Putting out that level of good vibes about yourself into the universe is sure to help make you not only feel better, but look at yourself more positively. Plus, if you do it in your room, no one else knows unless you tell them – all they will see is how much more confident in yourself you are getting!
5) Follow stuff that uplifts you
We all love spending a bit of time on the Gram, but have you ever found it makes you feel a bit crap about your life? Everyone else is throwing on pics of their holidays in the sun with a tan that you would literally kill for, and you are stuck at home on a drizzly and dull Sunday afternoon. We all know that social media is a highlight reel, but it can still make you feel rubbish when you see it. A good challenge to try is every time you see a post that makes you feel that way, unfollow it and replace it with something uplifting, funny or cute. There are literally thousands of accounts out there full of inspirational quotes, cute dogs, comedians and people posting some killer body positive content.
Need inspiration for some to follow? Check out these posts for some ideas:
6) Try a gratitude journal
Make being grateful a part of your bed time routine and keep a journal. At the end of every day, try writing down a list of three things that you are grateful for, good things that happened that day or positive thoughts you have had that day. It could not only help in boosting your happiness before you get a bit of shut eye, but also it’s a great thing to look back on when you are having a bit of a low day. Knowing you’ve had happy days before the bad ones can make everything seem way less rubbish.
7) Sing like you mean it
Next time you jump in the shower, cleaning your room or doing something boring, have a bit of music on and start belting out the tunes. Try even throwing in a bit of a boogie as well (not in the shower though, we don’t want to be held responsible for any broken bones!) We promise it will have you feeling more energised, and just generally a bit more positive about life. Especially if it’s Shout Out To My Ex– that tune is still fiiiiiree.
8) Do something just for you
A lot of the time, we go through life taking care of everyone else before ourselves. It’s always super well-meaning, but if it means you end up struggling to deal, then it might be time to do something just for yourself. When you feel like you can, schedule in a few hours one afternoon to do something that is just for you. Not only will it give you a bit of space from whatever it is that is stressing you out or getting you down, but it will help you to reconnect with the stuff you love to do. You are so much more than the rubbish stuff you might be having to deal with right now, and doing stuff for you will help to remind you of that.
If you are stuck for ideas, why not go to the cinema on your own, go shopping for the overpriced leather jacket you’ve been eyeing for weeks, go for a run or walk, get crafty, play music, or whip up something delicious in the kitchen. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you deserve a tonne of it right now.
9) Talk to someone
If you are having a bit of a tough time right now, talking to someone about it might be one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. Dealing with something in silence can take a real toll on your body and mental health, and talking about it could help ease the problem. If you feel ready, why not approach a trusted friend, colleague, parent, sibling or teacher and explain you need to talk about what’s going on in your life right now. It can help your load feel lighter and easier to deal with, and they can offer help or give you some perspective on the situation. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to right now, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you.
It should never be difficult or a chore to be kind to ourselves, but we know that when life gets busy or stressful it can be really difficult to give ourselves the break that we often need pretty badly. Trying any one of these things should hopefully help you to kick start a new you that is kinder to yourself, and to others around you.
For more information on the #ChooseKindness movement, click here.