I'm re-posting this blog post from August last year, as just over a year later and I find myself in the same kind of place where I forget to be kind to myself and I hit a wall. Perhaps, like me, you need a reminder right now to change your mindset in order to lighten your load.
Do you ever take a step back and look at the cycles that keep reoccurring in your life? Like the continual cycle of finding balance, maintaining balance, loosing balance and finding balance again? I've become aware of several such cycles lately and by paying attention to them, I have been making progress on changing the things I can change, and trying to accept those things I can't. One such cycle for me revolves around my expectations of myself. When things are running smoothly I expect a lot from myself. As I meet these expectations I expect more, and more, until I have put so much pressure on myself that I hit a wall. Then I have to stop, lower my expectations and be kinder to myself. I found that wall on Monday. As a result I have been reminding myself what being kind to myself means, and I think we all need that reminder sometimes.
Eat right, sleep right, exercise right
We all know it, but it's the first thing that tends to get out of balance when we are busy, and it's the thing we need to get right to feel rested, energised, and mentally and physically healthy.
Cut yourself some slack
It's time to lower your expectations, take the time frame away from the to-do list, prioritise the things that matter and practice self-compassion. Ask yourself, does 'this' matter to anyone else but me?
Let down the mask and others will too
It's easy to think that everyone except you has it all together, but the moment you open up about your perceived failings, you will find that others are experiencing them too, or are faced with their own struggles.
Take time to talk
To your partner, your family, your friends, and even strangers. A problem shared really is a problem halved. Turn off the tv and talk about your day, meet for coffee and discuss parenting tactics that are working, go for a walk and reminisce about happy memories from the past. Talking helps us feel understood and supported, and it often helps us work through what's troubling us, and find solutions.
Practice being in the moment and quieting your monkey mind
Mindfulness. Meditation. They are both ways of calming and focusing your mind. My mind goes 100 miles and hour and is full of to do lists, anxieties, future plans and a whole array of random thoughts that my brain presents to me unbidden. The mind is a machine that never stops working, not even when we sleep. So trying to quieten that machine is difficult, and I am still learning. But taking a few moments each day to really focus on a task you are doing, or sit quietly and focus on your breathing while recognising your thoughts and letting them go again can help you better manage stressful situations.
Comparison is the death of happiness, so stop comparing yourself to others. You can't have everything, do everything or be everyone, so be you. Everyone has different priorities, different goals and a different path. Keep working on finding your own. If someone has something, or achieves something, that makes you jealous, ask yourself if it's because you have that goal too, and keep working towards it.
Cut out the negativity, without and within
This is such an important one for me. If you surround yourself with supportive positive people, you will have a happier time than being surround by negative or toxic people. Take the time to recognise this people and let go of them from your life. I have also cut out watching the news, as it is filled with negativity and new horrors daily, and now I curate my own news content by reading the news online. Most importantly, question your inner dialogue. Negative thinking, negative fortune telling and beating yourself up will undermine all your hard work. Your monkey mind will throw all sorts of ideas at you, but you can ask yourself - Is this true? Is this helpful? Is this something I can change? If not, let it go. Don't forget to praise your own achievements.
Modest splurge (I learnt this from The Happiness Project)
Be kind to yourself by treating yourself to a modest splurge. It doesn't have to be a financial splurge, it might just be allowing yourself a time slurge, to do something you enjoy. It might be that you give yourself the night off from cooking and use that time to knit instead. Perhaps you want to take yourself out to a movie, get a massage, enroll yourself in a class, or shop for new shoes. I love modest splurges on things like stationary and books, because I don't feel guilty about having nice pens to use, or good books to read.
So here's to being kinder to ourselves, and in turn, kinder to those around us.
I'd love to hear what you would add to this list. xx