When it comes to self-care, we all know that it's easy to slack and put ourselves on the bottom of our priority list. However, it's so important to keep in mind little ways to show yourself compassion, because at the end of the day, you matter as much as anyone else in your life. You need to prioritize your health and happiness in order to function! It's easy to get down on yourself and feel like you aren't worthy of being the number one focus of your own life, but sometimes, you've just got to devote some time to your own needs, hobbies, and enjoyment. It helps you feel balanced and appreciated in the rest of your life, which can only be a good thing.
In fact, psychologists agree that putting yourself first is integral to feeling healthy and safe. For instance, taking the time to learn more about yourself through reflection and self-exploration can allow you to recognize your own growth and development through tough situations and life changes — all of which can be a really powerful experience. Connecting with your inner hopes, desires, and fears can also clue you into why you're behaving a certain way or why you've made certain decisions in the past, or what cycles exist throughout your life. When you take the time to recognize these parts of yourself and treat yourself with kindness and compassion instead of punishment, it can feel very positive and fulfilling to connect with yourself.
So here are 12 little ways to treat yourself kindly. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.
1. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
It's easy to get caught up in the idea that you can only celebrate the big accomplishments and milestones in your life, but in fact, even the little everyday things are worthy of admiration. Some days, just getting out of bed and getting to work on time feels like an accomplishment. Other days, it's because you've helped a neighbor in need or been there when a friend needed a shoulder to cry on.
2. Maintain A Journal
Make a point to maintain a journal every single day, even when you're tired or you feel like not much has happened lately. You'll be surprised how much recording your emotions, the events of your day, and your dreams and goals can impact you in the future.
3. Get Enough Sleep
We all know how hard it is to make sure we get enough sleep, but it's so important for your health. Not getting enough sleep can put you at serious risk for short- and long-term health issues, so you should always make sure you're getting the shuteye you need to function safely and healthily during the day.
4. Forgive Yourself
Whether you've blown a job interview, embarrassed yourself in front of your in-laws, or missed an important deadline, know that at the end of the day, you can totally forgive yourself. Would you hold a grudge or judgement against a friend who'd made the same error? Odds are, probably not. So don't treat yourself harder than you would anyone else.
5. Reach Out To Far Away Loved Ones
When was the last time you called your grandma or your favorite cousin? Did you ever return that email from your high school best friend? Schedule a few hours to sit down and reach out to those who are important to you, even if you haven't seen or spoken to them in a while. The nostalgia of reconnecting can make a super positive impact on your mood!
6. Talk To Someone
In your heart of hearts, if you know you've been struggling with long-term issues that aren't being resolved, it's important to schedule time to talk to a mental health professional. If you can't see someone in person, there are resources available online where you can chat with a therapist or support group virtually. Your mental health matters.
7. Read A New Book
If you feel like you've been spending a little too much time watching TV or surfing the internet lately, you can always turn to a good book to immerse you into another world. It'll give you a much-needed break from the stresses and pressures of your daily life — and help you unplug if that's something you need, too.
8. Learn To Cook Your Favorite Food At Home
Whether it's your go-to entree from your favorite restaurant, a dessert recipe your mom always makes on your birthday, or a fancy coffee drink from your local cafe, it can be awesome to learn how to perfect your favorite treat in your own kitchen. This is a fun activity to do by yourself to relax — or you can invite friends or your partner over to enjoy the finished product!
9. Disconnect From Social Media For 24 Hours
It's easy for your self-esteem to tank after scrolling through social media for a while — after all, the feeling that you're missing out on the fun and success of those around you can make you second guess yourself and all of your decisions. If you feel like social media is giving you anxiety or making you feel low, it's OK to disable it and disconnect yourself from it for as long as you need — whether that's 24 hours or much longer.
10. Hang Out With Animals
Studies show that hanging out with animals can work wonders on your self-esteem and happiness. If you don't have a pet at home to shower with affection, make a trip to your local animal shelter! Even if you can't adopt a furry friend right now, spending time with shelter animals can help prepare them for their forever homes through positive interactions and play. Plus, you get to hang out with awesome fuzzy, furry, feathered, or scaled little creatures!
11. Compliment Yourself Every Single Day
Too many days begin with feeling like you need to correct every little thing about yourself: Your shirt doesn't fit right, your hair is messy from sleeping on it funny, your skin is breaking out again, etc. It's easy for these thoughts to become a default and turn into a mantra in your head. Instead, make a point of complimenting yourself every single day, whether it's about your appearance, work ethic, something nice you do for a loved one, or anything else of which you're proud.
12. Give Your Body Some TLC
In this life, we all only get one body. Take care of it! For some people, this means spending time at the gym. For others, this means taking a long hike in nature. Taking care of your body is ultimately whatever feels right and necessary to you, from a massage to a bubble bath to making sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Whatever it is you need to do, prioritize it, because you only get one body to last a lifetime.