—Start with a 5 to 10-minute mindfulness session to leave the world outside the door and focus on the topic at hand, loving ourselves and our choices—
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” Audre Lorde
Tips to practice Self-Love
- There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first.
The advice we give to our loved ones is the same advice we should ourselves follow, we are our own worst enemies and forgiveness starts with yourself.
- Catch more sleep
Go see our information on sleep hygiene to find out how you can change your bed time routines and environment to help your sleep quality by using tech like blue light filters.
- Prioritise you time.
This could be your mindfulness practice, exercise regime, reading a book, taking a hot bath, or whatever whispers relaxation to you.
- Learn to say no to those around you if they are demanding too much of your time or energy.
- Do your thing.
This is whatever makes you you—hobbies, interests, extracurricular activities or projects–Self-love starts with doing what you love. Not feeling like you’re ‘good’ at anything can have a negative effect on your self-esteem, but what if you’re just not taking the time to show everyone what you’re made of?
- Quit, or reduce, self-criticism: beware of
“I wish I was…”
“I should not have…”
- Talk things out instead of bottling them up.
Repressed emotions can surface in the body as tension, pain, illness or discomfort. And let’s face it, it’s what your BFFs are there for. It doesn’t matter if it’s family, friends, colleagues, mental health professionals, support groups or teachers that you reach out to, talking about your feelings is a simple act of self-love.
- Take care of your personal hygiene and health.
Especially when we are feeling low or anxious we may neglect things or forget normal routine behaviours such as brushing our teeth, showering, doing laundry, eating, taking our prescriptions. Staying on top of these basic human functions helps to lift us up.
- Get moving.
Be more active. It could be through social events like team sports (paintball, football, snooker, basketball, darts), walking around your local area (which can be a social event if you do walking groups), swapping the car for a bike ride to work or whacking on some tunes and booging around the house with busting your best dance moves. Endorphins help our mood.
- Personal development.
Apps like Brain in Hand (subscription fee), Wyser (free basic use or upgrade for a fee), Headspace (fees) Calm (free through Mind Space) and other mental health apps available on google play give useful reminders for daily tasks, medications, practising gratitude, reframing thoughts through cognitive behavioural techniques and instant messaging chat can be helpful reminders to boost mental wellbeing. Support groups, NHS therapies and online forums can also be useful to guide you through development
- Being in nature
Whether this is a walk in the woods or lazing in the fields, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the world helps calm the stresses infecting the mind.
- Managing work/study loads
If tasks are missed, regardless of what they pertain to, it can increase stress levels. Staying on top of chores and responsibilities will help minimalize anxiety.
- Spend time with the people you love
Maintaining relationships, even for the most introverted of people, is a key part to human survival and basic mental health care, even—possibly especially—on days we feel like shutting the world out. Take that step and pick up the phone, write a letter, arrange a visit. No matter how much time has passed, you can always get back in touch to rekindle a past relationship (but only those that are a positive influence on your life – see our info on Toxic Relationships).
Here are a few habits you can start today that can bring about a positive change to improving the relationship you have with yourself:
- Invest in yourself. Spend 15–30 minutes each day doing something that uplifts you.
- When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said.
- If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up. Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive.
- Do something to wind down at the end of each day.
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes, both big and small. Did you do poorly on an exam because you didn’t study enough? Did you hurt a friend’s feelings by saying the wrong thing? Or maybe you left the shower on and flooded your bathroom. I bet you won’t do that again. We all need to make these kinds of mistakes in order to learn from them.
- You are not your mistake
- Be honest with yourself and others
- Recognise exactly what you did wrong
- Think about ways you might be able to fix or improve the situation
How do you fill your cup?
We cannot pour from an empty cup, first we must fill it.
Plan your dream self-care day for the next time you want to recharge! Write down in your cup or discuss in the group what your ideal wind down session would look like.
Things I will do for entertainment or joy, things I will do for relaxation and stress relief, things I will do for health or hygiene. Things I will do for my social life: