By Nicole Petersen
Acts of kindness toward others can create peace in a society, acceptance of others and lasting relationships, but many do not realize that in order to be kind to others, you must first be kind to yourself. Actively practicing self-acceptance and self-care is vital to your mental health and creates a more positive attitude, stronger relationships and a happier life. Take a minute each day to remind yourself not only to treat others how you would have them treat you, but to care for yourself in the same manner.
Not sure where to start? Here are six ways to practice self-kindness:
Taking a small break several times a day can greatly impact stress levels and overall happiness. Allowing yourself even a 5 to 10 minute break can positively affect your productivity level and attitude.
According to Harvard Medical School, any form of exercise can effectively lower stress levels. Also, eating healthy foods, eating regularly and reducing caffeine intake can positively impact your mood. Making small changes each day to exercise more and eat right will go a long way toward feeling great.
Learn from your mistakes, but don’t let them define you. Give yourself a break and remember that it is okay to mess up. Just as you would forgive someone else for a small mistake, forgive yourself.
Remember to take a little bit of time out of each week to practice relaxing, stress relieving activities. It could be physical activity, meditation or any other type of self-care that works for you.
You don’t have to go through life alone. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help when you need it. The people that surround you can provide support in a task, give insight toward a problem, or simply be a listening ear. You can also find assistance on United Way’s free community helpline 2-1-1. Just dial 2-1-1 or 1-904-632-0600 to be connected to a call center specialist who can provide support, information and referrals to health, social and human services.
It’s easy to doubt yourself, especially when challenges arise or when trying to achieve goals that seem out of reach. However, believing in yourself and your abilities will not only make you more confident, but will also help you succeed.
Being mindful of how you treat your body and mind can go a long way toward achieving self-acceptance. When you take care of yourself and live a more positive life, it becomes easier to be kinder to others, strengthen relationships with people who are important to you and care for your community as a whole. Think you’ve mastered self-kindness and ready to share your heart with your community? Visit unitedewaynefl.org/get-involved to discover ways you can connect your passions to purpose.