8 Ways to be Kinder to Yourself

Words: Melanie Dimmitt

Of all the relationships that come and go in life, the one you have with yourself is by far the longest – yet some of us are being a little (or a lot) neglectful in the self-love department. How quick we are to comfort a friend, forgive a foe and turn a blind eye to that total stranger who cut us off at the lights. But when it comes to showing even an ounce of self-compassion, we often fall short, when we could be channelling a healthy, happiness-inducing dose of Samantha from SATC: “I love you, but I love me more.” Ready to be your own BFF? Here are eight ways to start winning brownie points with me, myself and I.

  1. Invest in yourself

As stretched as your time and money might be, there’s no better way to spend them than on YOU. Carve out space and resources to expand your mind and nurture your body – read, rest, move and get that massage. Hell, why not treat yourself to an entire day out? Or dabble in a creative side-project? Trust us, it’s the best return on investment you’ll ever get.

  1. Less “should”, more “no”

‘Should’ is a word that sets unrealistic expectations, and also does a great job of making us feel guilty. So how about giving ‘should’ the shove? Give some thought to the things that are truly important to you – be it spending time with loved ones, heading outdoors or sleeping in on a Sunday – and practise pulling out the big N.O. when other pressures sneak in.

  1. Block out social media

Even if it’s just for an hour or so, putting your phone down is a simple way to do yourself a favour. Studies have shown that scrolling is linked to being less satisfied with your lot and feeling socially isolated – and comparing your life to the painstakingly filtered feeds of others has also been found to be unhealthy (comparison is the thief of joy, after all).

  1. Befriend yourself

There’s a line in the Bible (bear with us) that says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is all well and good, but the reverse is also a commandment worth keeping. When that little voice in your head starts negging on you, ask yourself, is this how I would speak to, or advise, a good friend?

  1. Put yourself to bed

Oh sleep, you wonderful thing you. A solid, seven to nine hour sesh of Zs is bound to seemingly endless benefits, such as being more productive, less anxious, lowering your chance of developing chronic diseases, even looking better – so says a recent study out of Sweden, proving it ain’t called beauty sleep for nothing. 

  1. Show kindness to others

It’s the right thing to do – and there’s a bunch of bonus, self-loving side-effects that come with helping a brother (or sister) out. Showing kindness increases the levels of our brain’s natural versions of happy drugs, or endogenous opioids, triggering a so-called “helper’s high” – and is also linked to having a healthier heart and slowing ageing.

  1. Forgive yourself

So you stuffed up. Cut yourself some slack and take comfort in knowing that you did what you felt was right at the time. What can you learn from this? Mistakes offer up a glowing opportunity to hone in on your morals and values and live more in-sync with them, and you know what? Everybody makes them. Which leads us to our last point…

  1. Stop trying to be perfect

We would never expect perfection from another living soul, so why do we endeavour to attain it? It’s draining, unrelenting and frankly about as achievable as holding the long note in Fatboy Slim’s Praise You while summiting Everest. Striving to be your best is a whole other, much healthier pursuit – and those flaws of yours are actually what draw other people to you, so it’s high time you started loving them, yourself.