Be Kind To Yourself

This is one of those are you looking after yourself epistles, like being calm and being positive. So, are you being kind to the rest of the world but not yourself? Perhaps you need to stop for a little while this weekend and focus on you.

Where are the pitfalls in your life?

I want you to think about rules of 3, in this case: work rest and play. Your day is meant to divide into 3 pieces of 8 – just like a good pirate. But I bet it isn’t. I bet your lack of self-kindness starts with this hard won division. This is what the eight hour day represents, what the 40 hour week was about, what the union movement introduced so that we had a balanced life, but do you??

beach

Work will be taking the lion’s share of your time. It’s taking its toll, you are working too many hours, you’re going in when you’re not well, you don’t know what a weekend is anymore. This is not good, this is not kindness, this excessive work scene many of us have going, is killing us. Step back from the excessive demands, step back into a manageable space. Work hard, by all means, do what you are paid to do, do your best. But remember it’s work, not life and unless you are CEO of the world, then it’s really a means to an end. Cut yourself some slack, don’t work every hour the Lord sends. He doesn’t want you to! And it really doesn’t make you a better person, in fact it probably makes you a less patient, less tolerant, and – dare I say – angry person.

Rest is vital to health. It means we recharge, regenerate and are refreshed to start another day. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you sleeping well? Are your dreams pleasant lands of joyfulness or are you plagued with horrors and darkness where you’re stabbing your former boss to death and then picking the shrapnel from your own belly in agony? Rest means turning off the noise, moving away from the world so you can chill, just be. Rest can be you and a book, a glass of wine and a box set, a sleep in on Saturday. Rest is meant to be soothing, peaceful: it’s what we all need to be full and functioning human beings. Lack of sleep is one of those things that sends people mad: it’s the easiest torture there is. Remember life with small babies and how you would murder for eight hours uninterrupted sleep? Do not underestimate the importance of sleep.

rest

Play is another of those things that gets eaten up by work. In fact some weeks our whole life seems to be lurching from one work episode to another. You must stop. You must play – and this isn’t just sitting at the pub drinking and whinging. Play can be so many things – sport, exercise, gardening, sewing, knitting, playing games (board, okay, even computer games), visiting galleries, going to shows, baking amazing cakes, being with those you cherish, etc. Play is about getting away from work, about doing things that you enjoy, that bring you happiness. Play can be as simple as cooking a lovely meal of an evening and talking with your family. Play should take you miles from your work, metaphorically and literally.

Play hard means you’ll sleep hard and then work a whole lot better. 

So, being kind to yourself is giving yourself a break. You are allowed a little time for yourself out of your hectic existence. So this weekend and next and next – stop, drop and just do what you want. You may only need an hour but be kind to yourself and you’ll find you’re a whole lot kinder to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world might just be kinder back…

Here are some ideas

Have a long bubble bath, perhaps a glass of bubbly and some music while you soak

Have a massage

Read for the morning in bed

Read the Sunday papers from cover to cover

Have a glass of wine in the afternoon sun

Go for a long walk in the park or the woods

Go to the movies

Buy a new pair of shoes

Eat a whole Toblerone (but don’t feel guilty)

Allow yourself a whole day off study

Go to a garden centre and buy some flowers

Go to the beach and have a paddle

Have a nap under a spreading tree

Watch your favourite weepy movie and have a good cry

Hang out with your pet, the best way to be kind

Play your music really loud, sing and dance as if the world IS watching

Have a meal with your favourite person in the whole world

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Being kind means not doing as much as doing, but remember you must not feel guilty about this otherwise there is no kindness. The world won’t end if you leave things be – perhaps someone else will pick up the slack and be kind to you too!

Don’t wash up, or clear the table

Don’t do the washing

Don’t clean the house

Don’t answer your phone after 6pm

Don’t mark those books

Don’t write that report

Don’t clean the car

Don’t mow the lawn

Don’t worry about anything – the little things that dog your life, or the big things – an hour off worrying is probably the kindest thing you can do for yourself!

How would you be kind to yourself? (Images from Private Collection)

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