Self-Care and Mental Health: Easy Ways to Be Kinder to Your Body and Mind

You’ve probably seen the words self-love, self-care, or self-compassion being thrown around social media before, but knowing what they mean – and actually putting them into practice – is an entirely different story. In short, practicing self-kindness simply means treating yourself how you would a close friend or family member who you love and respect. For many of us, however, that doesn’t come naturally. Women in particular have a hard time being kind to themselves. Thanks to a combination of factors (social media and diet culture are two contemporary examples) women have long-faced and continue to face, pressure to be perfect. In turn, this has led many of us to be self-critical about the way we look, feel or live our lives and compare ourselves to the women we see on the internet.

It may sound a bit “fluffy” – as a society, we have a tendency to view kindness as a weakness – but making the active decision to be kind to ourselves, engage in self-care, and show ourselves the compassion we would a friend or family member can be incredibly powerful. Why? Because the relationship we have with ourselves can play a massive role in our physical and mental health.  Looking for a way to show yourself some love? Take care of your mental health and boost your self-esteem with these ideas of how to be kinder to your body and mind. So how can we start being kinder to ourselves and show ourselves some love? We asked Dr. Michaelides to share their top tips. 

1. Set Self-Care Goals

“Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day or week to organize your thoughts and map out the goals that you want to accomplish,” Michaelides recommends. “Among that list, think about how you can also prioritize time to take care of yourself and brainstorm a list of activities that you love, or maybe new things that you want to try. “Defining and setting goals for how you can practice self-care is the first step to actioning them. Next, it’s important to actually make time for these activities, and write them on your to-do list or block off time on your calendar. Figuring out ahead of time how you can incorporate them into your week will make it much easier to follow through.

“Then, break down the steps it takes to achieve these goals. It can be overwhelming when thinking about the end goal versus thinking about a smaller version of it. If you want to finish the book you’ve been dying to read for weeks, start small. When can you find a chunk of time to dedicate to reading one or two chapters? You don’t have to finish the book in one sitting, but the small, incremental steps you take can be just as effective, and perhaps even more rewarding. “Setting goals and establishing simple, achievable steps to hit them helps you stay on track and prioritize those self-care activities.”

2. Acknowledge the Positive

“If we only tick off one of the tasks on our to-do list, it’s easy to get caught in feeling like there is way more on the list that we haven’t completed yet,” Michaelides says. “Finishing one task, however, is a step in the right direction. “We are all imperfect human beings with flaws and inconsistencies – that’s what makes us human! Rather than focusing on all the work we haven’t done yet, we can take a more positive shift in our mindset by being kind, allowing ourselves to notice our efforts, and celebrating every victory, no matter how small they may seem. This small act of kindness can help to foster a more positive mindset and let go of feeling as if you failed. We are all imperfect human beings with flaws and inconsistencies – that’s what makes us human.

“Another way to acknowledge the positive in your life is through gratitude journaling. Spending just a few minutes each day writing down what you are grateful for in your life can help you see the good that’s all around you, especially during times when life may feel challenging or stressful.”

3. Identify Qualities You Like About Yourself

“Be kind to both your mind and body by practicing self-love,” Michaelides recommends. “Can you look in the mirror and find something you like about yourself physically? Close your eyes and think about your best inner qualities. Say these positive qualities out loud as affirmations, such as, ‘I am caring. I am beautiful. I am compassionate’. You could also write them down to have visual reminders, especially when it may be hard to notice these positive traits all the time.

“It may be hard to believe what you say at first, but every day you do this, you will begin to shift your mindset and over time you’ll start noticing more ways to view things in a positive light by ‘seeing the good’. Strong self-image and a sense of your inner and outer beauty can help boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.”

4. Reframe Negative Thoughts

Our negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all interconnected,” Michaelides explains. “Our thoughts and attitudes influence our emotions and behaviors, and vice versa. We can begin to notice when thoughts like these happen and replace them with new ideas (These changes are hard to make. The more I break down the steps and start small, the easier it will be to make a change).

“Evaluating your thoughts and ideas like this can be challenging, and at times uncomfortable, but it’s an important part of being able to make and see changes.”

5. Listen to Your Body

“Instead of just acknowledging how your body looks in the mirror, be kind to your body by listening to how it feels,” Michaelides says. “You may notice things you are grateful for, like not being in pain today or being able to smell beautiful flowers. “Being in tune with your body can also help with our relationship with food. Next time you have a strong craving, try to figure out where it’s coming from. Is it emotional, nostalgic, psychological (triggered by a memory or routine), or true physical hunger? Do you typically have sugar, salt, or fat cravings? Begin by identifying your patterns and writing them down. 

“Once you’ve begun to understand your cravings, it will be easier to recognize them and take action accordingly. We have a philosophy at Noom that all foods fit in moderation; you don’t need to conquer them, you can honor them. “You can also listen to your body through exercise; move your body to boost endorphins and strengthen your muscles, while also improving your mental health. “

Final Words

Although these steps may not sound revolutionary, taking the time to implement them into your routine could make the world of difference when it comes to your mental health and well-being. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we’ll have in our lives – so it’s about time we started nurturing it.

Article Credit:

Published by SULV Foundation

Build and Repeat is our Mission and Purpose, we strive to make the world a better place while creating inter-generational wealth.

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