This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is centred around the theme of ‘kindness’. This includes being kind to both others and yourself.
Mental health is as important as ever to discuss, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to heightened feelings of stress, anxiety or inertia for some.
Read on for some simple but effective tips to practice self-kindness and boost your feelings of mental wellbeing, which in turn leaves you better equipped to be kind to others.
1. Self recognition and affirmation
Start a new habit; spend two minutes every morning reminding yourself of the things that make you great, or things you have achieved. This can range from smaller day-to-day achievements, like getting to the gym the day before, or the larger milestones you may reach once in a while.
Remind yourself of the personality traits that make you a great person; are you a good listener? A loyal friend? A committed employee? Try saying some self affirmations out loud - they’ve been proven to help “minimize the anxiety, stress, and defensiveness associated with threats to our sense of self, while keeping us open to the idea that there is room for improvement”.
2. Take care of yourself
One of the best ways to be kind to yourself, is simply by looking after yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat enough nutritious food, and try and exercise regularly. Getting enough good quality sleep is vital for your physical and mental health. Sleep deficiency has been linked with everything from higher rates of depression to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Exercise is equally as important, as it similarly has both physical and mental benefits. It reduces your risk of heart attack, and has many other physical health benefits. It also releases endorphins, which have a positive impact on mood and energy.
3. Be thankful
Being grateful has actually been shown to have a positive impact on a variety of health benefits - like increasing happiness and reducing depression. Try writing (or typing) a list of everything you are thankful for.
Showing your appreciation and saying thank you contributes to the happiness of others - so it’s a win-win all round!
At eduMe, we make sure we show our appreciation to our team and colleagues frequently. One way we do this is through bonus.ly, an employee recognition scheme that allows your team to show their appreciation to their colleagues.
4. Manage stress
This year has been particularly difficult for some, with the coronavirus outbreak and knock-on effects having an impact on many people’s stress levels. Find your own way to reduce your stress, and carve out at least 30 minutes each day to practice it.
Find what works for you - anything from boxing, to meditation, to painting can help destress. Once you’ve found what works, make sure you turn it into a routine.
5. Help others
When you go out of our way to help someone else it activates a neural pathway in the brain which improves feelings of wellbeing. We’re all familiar with that ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ when we’ve done a good deed.
Being kind to yourself allows you to be even kinder to others. If we begin by practicing being kind to ourselves, we increase the likelihood of allowing this kindness to spill out into how you interact with other people. This keeps making you feel good, and so the cycle continues.
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