Kindness, according to Oxford Dictionaries, is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It is actually a virtue that we usually encourage in our children, and something that we hope to experience, too, from other people.
But what about self-kindness? Have we ever thought about the different ways we can practice kindness towards our own selves?
We all know that being a parent can be very challenging, and many times, we forget the importance of taking care of ourselves so that we can be better ‘carers’ for our children and other people who may depend on us.
Rosie Molinary, an author, speaker, and teacher who “empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world,” emphasizes the importance of self-kindness.
According to Molinary, self-kindness is “taking all those actions, all those reactions and applying them to yourself just as readily as you offer them to others. It’s about acknowledging the difficulty of a situation, recognizing your efforts and soothing yourself.”
It’s also about offering our selves “better care.” “We get more sleep, offer our bodies more of the nutrients that it needs, wean some or most of our bad habits,” Molinary adds.
If you feel that you need to be kinder to yourself but don’t know how to get started, you need not fear — we’ve listed 20 things that you can do to take better care of yourself this coming new year:
1. Set your goals. It's good to have long-term goals but it is equally important to have short-term ones. Attaining these short-term goals will help give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to pursue other goals.
2. Minimize overtime work. Commit to coming to work on time and leaving promptly, so that you can enjoy some family- and me-time.
3. Unload yourself. If you can delegate some of your tasks — whether at home or at work — to other people, go ahead and do it.
4. Say ‘no.’ Set limits on what you can do, or are willing to do. Don’t say ‘yes’ just because you don’t want to disappoint a colleague or a relative.
5. Be healthy. Start an exercise regimen you will really follow and eat healthy food. Your body will thank you for it.
9. Schedule your meetings properly. In scheduling your meetings, try to have a 30-minute interval in-between. That way, you’ll have enough time to prepare for the next one, plus you'll have an allowance in case your earlier meeting goes overtime.
10. Drink more water. According to WebMD.com, drinking a glass of water can be one way to “unwind from your stress-filled life.” If you are not properly hydrated, your body isn’t functioning well — and this can lead to stress.
11. Get more sleep. This is very basic, but many of us still don’t realize just how important a good night’s rest is. A study done to examine the relationship between inadequate sleep and stress, published on the American Psychological Association website, shows that sleep-deprived participants experienced higher levels of stress compared to those who were more rested.
12. Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up inside. Instead, allow yourself to “feel your feeling healthfully” and learn to manage your emotions effectively. You can start to do so by reading articles like this one.
13. Be a solution-finder. Instead of freaking out when challenges arise, focus on looking for a solution to each difficult situation that may come your way.
14. Lower your expectations. Avoid unnecessary stress by ditching your sky-high expectations of how things and people “should be.”
15. Go away for a while. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break from it all -- your work, your family, and everything else — even if it’s just for an hour or two.
16. Bond with Mother Nature. Take time to immerse yourself in nature. Go for a walk in a tree-filled park, visit a nearby beach, or just gaze at the sun as it sets.
17. Unplug. Disconnect yourself from technology, and stay away from your phone or other gadgets for a whole day. You’ll be surprised at how it will affect you — and your loved ones — in a positive way.
18. Indulge yourself. Treating yourself to a massage, your favorite dessert or long-overdue new pair of shoes isn’t a bad thing. Don’t feel guilty about it either, especially if you know you worked hard for it.
19. Drink some juice. Juicing is becoming more and more popular these days, and is a quick and easy way to give yourself a dose of healthy, energizing goodness.
20. Learn to be more grateful. You can start off by doing a gratitude journal, and listing down what you’re thankful for each day. When you’re focused on your blessings, you’ll learn to let go of stress — and thus, be kinder to yourself.
How do you take care of yourself and practice self-kindness? Let us know by leaving a comment below!