kindself

7 ways to be kinder to yourself

Put self-care at the top of your to-do list

Carla Challis

Being kind to others is something we all strive to do, whether it be holding a door open for someone, donating to charity or giving up our time to help a friend in need. Have you ever thought, though, that perhaps it's time you were kinder to yourself? We're a self-critical bunch who often put others needs before our own, but we say it's time to stop and to take a moment for you. Self-care is anything but selfish, it's a fundamental way to feel happier, healthier and more positive too.

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott commented: "It is really important to actually do kind things rather than just talk about them. Doing kind things sends good signals to your brain that are positive and rewarding, and this promotes both your physical and psychological health. Being kind to yourself means you're more likely to be kind to others. Kindness and love are a higher function of the brain and the more you do it, it reduces stress, improves your outlook on life, your physical health and ability to relate to others." We say 2019 is the year you learn to be kinder to yourself, and here's some easy but effective ways to practice the art of self-care…

Learn to say no

Here's a secret: you don't need a reason to decline an invitation. Declining because you simply need some time to yourself is more than OK. Stop putting your health to the back of the queue by saying yes to everything, pleasing everyone but yourself – and tiring yourself out in the process – and instead, simply say no thank you. Not only will your body and mind thank you for it, but your friends will too as you're more present when you do see them and much less likely to cancel.

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Stop comparing yourself

You're on YOUR journey, no-one else's, and while it's easy to go down the path of comparing your life to someone else's, try not to – and instead, appreciate the positive things happening in your life. Focus on the good, not the bad. Make time for you Don't be afraid to schedule in some me time. It could be as simple as setting yourself an hour or two to watch a film, read a book or take a soak in the bath. You'll soon learn to appreciate the alone time and think of it as a breather from your daily life.

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Be your own best friend

Don't beat yourself up if things don't go plan – be the best kind of friend you can be, to yourself. Imagine how you'd deal with a friend who's had a setback, or how they would with you and then apply that advice to yourself.

Appreciate yourself, big or small

We can often roll through the days, weeks, months or even years and think we've not achieved much – but by taking a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself, you'll soon find how fabulous you are, and realise you've achieved a lot more than you gave yourself credit for.

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Give toxic relationships the heave-ho

Frenemies are not friends, end of. So if you find yourself constantly questioning a friendship or relationship, let it go. Chances are, you're holding onto it for the other person, rather than yourself but if they don't lift you up or improve your life, it's time to say bye-bye-bye.

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Focus on your health

It's a recurring theme that we put ourselves last in the pecking order, and one place that often suffers is our health. Make this year the year you put your health first on the list; it can be as simple as getting a good eight hours sleep, taking a walk at lunchtime instead of staying at your desk or drinking more water.

Make a stand. Say #HelloToKindness. Post your own kind message on Instagram today and tag @HelloMag.