Has your hectic holiday season left you feeling exhausted and unsatisfied? Perhaps you are overwhelmed, burdened down by the weight of all those New Year’s resolutions that must be achieved so you can have the perfect lifestyle your family thinks you should have? Or, maybe you are tired of the rat race and are finally ready to move towards something more rewarding, something more aligned with your authentic self, something healing.
If this sounds like you, then you need to learn how to be kinder to yourself.
Self-kindness is vital if you want to feel good about your life. And so few of us know how to be kind to ourselves. This is because modern culture encourages us to soldier through our day, meeting our challenges head on and giving more than 100 percent. We are expected to be extreme versions of ourselves – bigger, better, stronger, smarter, faster than the next person so that we can win the real and imagined competitions that we find ourselves in everyday.
Sometimes the cost of these super-human efforts is enormous. Sometimes they are felt in the moment, and sometimes it takes years to see the affects of chronic fatigue, pain and disorientation on our health, our relationships, our finances and our overall life happiness.
A daily dose of self-kindness can help in many ways. It can make you more resilient, and better able to manage unexpected or planned changes that are an inevitable part of life. Acts of self-kindness allow you to replenish your resources so you don’t need to crawl to the finish line. And, practicing self-kindness creates opportunities for you to know yourself better so you don’t chase goals that aren’t fulfilling.
Here are 3 simple techniques for practicing self-kindness. You are certain to notice benefits to your health, your relationships and your spirit when done on a daily basis.
- Compliment yourself. It is just this simple. Thank your toes for looking so good in that cherry red nail polish. High 5 your heart for being so open this morning. Whoop-Whoop your amazing spaghetti-making abilities. Practice drawing your own attention to even the most basic of things you do well and appreciate about yourself. Be your own cheering squad.
- Cultivate casual friendships. Having too many BFF’s can be exhausting. Practice enjoying the company of friends that are low-key and low-stakes, where you aren’t emotionally invested in their process and outcomes. You will find that these friendships can restore your energy since they are companionship-oriented with a focus on the activity or the environment rather than the emotional well-being of the other person. Casual friendships have their benefits.
- Take 5 minutes a day for yourself. I know this seems ominous for those of us with hectic, non-stop lives. However, this isn’t about doing yoga on the beach every morning. This is about just stopping your crazy routine long enough to notice YOU are here, in your body. If you are a busy mom, maybe you can shower with the door closed for once! If you are a busy CEO, maybe you can put down your phone and notice the landscape passing by the train window. The important thing is that you identify these 5 minutes as YOUR time, and that you do not give in to inevitable disturbances. A 5 minute mini-vacation helps you unconsciously re-centre and energetically regroup for what comes next. Once you have the hang of this, do it 3 times a day.
Forget about all those New Year’s Resolutions. Practice self-kindness and notice how much better you feel, and the joyful experiences your attract. Make 2020 a year of self-kindness.