So it is mental health awareness week, with the theme of kindness this week! Mental health is a subject that I hold quite dearly to my heart, as although I am doing well now, I have struggled in the past. Today I want to talk about how you can be kind to yourself, regardless of whether you are suffering now, have suffered in the past or are in the recovery stage! It is important that we protect ourselves and our mental healths with kindness towards ourselves.
I’m sure if you have been following my blog for a while you will have read a couple of my blog posts and have probably gotten the gist by now, for those who haven’t, I have a history with depression, unfortunately self-harm, and an ongoing on-off relationship with anxiety! I think a lot of that stemmed from my being very harsh on myself to achieve things, also because I didn’t look the same as the models on the front pages of my ‘Top of the Pops’, ‘Mizz’ and ‘Bliss’ magazines that I used to buy… and because I placed a lot of my worth into the hands of others.
All in all, I wasn’t very kind to myself when I was younger and I didn’t know how to express that in words. I’m so glad, that by some magic I have been able to become better at sharing how I feel when I feel it, and not letting emotions manifest and become something bigger or worse.
Over the years I have started to take a more ‘Maya-centered’ approach. It was a process, but it made me realise that, as I said above, I placed way too much of my worth and being on the opinions and views of other people. Obviously other factors came into play, but I had set myself up with a huge disadvantage as I couldn’t even set proper boundaries for myself, because they were being dictated by my wanting to be anyone but myself. Thankfully I am in a much better place, and I love that I had those experiences, because I have come out of them stronger.
I do quite a lot now for myself and for the better of my mental health, and I’d like to share these things with you guys!
- When I don’t want to do something that somebody asks of me- I will politely decline and say ‘no’. There is strength in saying no to people when they ask a favour of you that you don’t want to do, or when they ask you to go to something that you don’t want to attend. Regardless of whether they are your friend or your family, show yourself that you are your first priority. Better yet, knowing that you are allowed to say no to the things you don’t want to do is the best feeling. Not doing something for the better of your mental health is okay, not doing something even if it doesn’t impact your mental health is also okay.
- Create time for yourself, especially in a time such as this. This morning, after I did my workout, I took all (and I mean all) of my pamper stuff with me to my bubble bath. I put on the next episode of ‘New Girl’ on Netflix, put in a hair mask, did a facemask, shaved my legs (I feel like a dolphin now), exfoliated, washed my hair and all that great stuff, and I ignored the world outside and made sure I was looking after myself and my body. Spending time with myself, and after spending that time with me I felt fresh and nice! Treat yourself to some relaxation and me time.
- When my friends, or anyone I know, goes through any trouble and ask me for advice, I like to ask them what they’d tell me to do if I were in that situation. I’ve started putting in the conscious effort to treat myself as I would my best friend, because I would never be as harsh on my friends as I am myself. When I am upset, or angry- I don’t get more upset or angry with myself, I show myself some compassion like I would a friend… believe me, we would all treat ourselves a lot kinder if we treated ourselves the way we do our friends. In the same way you would hug your friend who was upset, you should also (hug yourself if you want) treat yourself with that kindness and care when you need it.
- I scream this one every time someone asks me, but I love mindfulness. Mindfulness is so important, being comfortable just stopping and being in the present moment is such a power move. You take that time to notice how you are feeling, this could be physically or mentally, and it gives you time to think about those things, and not resist against them. While it will not take those feelings away, it will help you recognise them, and maybe even find ways to combat them in the long run. Even so, the simple act of recognising them every time you practice mindfulness could be enough to reduce them.
- When you find something funny, share it with a family member, friend or co-worker, because for some reason doing that makes the funny thing seem 10 times funnier! I personally like to annoy people by posting memes to my instagram stories, or flooding my group chat with random tiktoks that I find funny. Those connections you make with another person, where you can freely laugh are so good for your mental health, according to the website linked laughter is scientifically proven to benefit mental health, in that it reduces stress and encourages the release of the body’s positive endorphins.
Thank you for reading! Have a good week 🙂