"You can always give something even if it is only kindness"
Whilst we are all distancing ourselves from friends and family to help the fight against the pandemic there is still a lot we can do to help each other and to help ourselves. As the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness we are setting you all a challenge to complete one random act of kindness each day this week! Whether it be making someone you live with a cup of tea or texting your friends to see how they are, every random act of kindness makes a huge difference! Being kind has been proven to not only make the receiver feel good but also the person doing the kind act. Share with is your random acts of kindness this week on social media using the hashtag #RHWellbeing. We'll share these on our Instagram stories.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself
by Jane Gittins, Primary Care Mental Health Practitioner, Student Advisory & Wellbeing
We are often our harshest critic and have our own critical and strict inner voice that speaks to us when we have perhaps not achieved the grade or goal we set ourselves or made a mistake.
Sometimes we are self-critical because of past experiences or feeling like it helps to motivate you.
Take a moment to think about how your critical voice sounds to you? What are they saying? What language do they use and what tone does it take?
- Is this voice helpful and encouraging or judgemental, harsh and strict?
- How does this voice impact on your mood, feelings and outlook?
- Is this how you would speak to a friend?
We must remember as humans we are continually learning; learning from experiences, mistakes and success etc. Therefore, it is important that we begin to be more kind and compassionate to ourselves to help us continue our journey and growth. Encouraging ourselves to feel good about exploring, taking chances, stepping out of our comfort zones and moving forward.
Think for a moment how life would be if we were all more compassionate to ourselves and how that would impact on those around us?
Some tips on becoming more self-caring and compassionate
- Learn to accept and acknowledge that critical voice, label the comments ‘there goes those critical comments again’ and let them go. Don’t engage with the feeling.
- Give your compassionate voice more ‘airtime’, allow it to step in and speak.
- Develop gentle, soothing and encouraging language.
- Become less judgemental of yourself. Allow yourself to feel angry, upset or sad. Let your compassionate voice tell you that ‘it is OK to feel like that, you are only human and it’s understandable’
- Be gentle with yourself when you feel upset or scared.
- Think of the values that you would apply to friends and the people that you care about. How would you apply these to yourself?
- Treat yourself as you would a friend. What would you say to your friend if they made a mistake or didn’t get top results?
- Loosen some of your strict rules you have for yourself. Give yourself permission to be human, recognise your efforts.
- Offer yourself praise, become your own coach or mentor.
- Find ways to do your best within any given situation that you find yourself in, are there any positives e.g. are you getting to do anything which you wouldn’t normally be able to do?
- Keep a gratitude diary and think of 3 positive things that have happened each day. This helps us cultivate appreciation for the simple and small things in life.
- Allow yourself to do something nurturing for you each day, something that you enjoy and perhaps gain a sense of achievement from. Create that time and space for you.
- Reach out and connect with friends and others.
- An act of kindness to someone. Perhaps volunteer in some way? Or just send some kind words to a friend or someone you care about?
- Look after your body. Exercise (an activity that you enjoy) and eat healthy as much as you can. Studies have shown the positive impact of healthy eating and exercise on our moods, especially those suffering with depression.
- Take time to rest and relax, giving your mind and body chance to re-charge and replenish energy levels.
Keep a journal and notice how you feel when you become more compassionate to yourself. What shifts do you recognise and how does it impact on your responses to situations and outcomes, friendships and relationships?
What voice would you now prefer to listen too?
Remember to practice your compassion voice every day as it’s like developing a muscle group in your body, it will only get stronger the more you use it!
The kinder you become to yourself, the more you will create a ripple effect around you.