You know here at ECBC Manchester we love a campaign, especially a campaign that helps promote being kinder to ourselves. This month we are focusing on how we can look after ourselves more and love ourselves for who we are. Self-kindness plays a massive part in promoting a positive mental health and this month we are providing you with advice on how you can be kinder to the most important person – you.
This week we will be looking at self-kindness and how being easy on yourself is so important when living with a mental illness. We need to treat ourselves similarly to how we would treat a friend, with kindness and love. Often those who live with a mental illness we tell ourselves we don’t deserve kindness, support and love. We are hard on ourselves and can be our own worst enemies. This month we are promoting self-love because it can be a vital part of successfully living with a mental illness.
In order to be kinder to yourselves here’s some tips:
Seek professional help and advice
Asking for help can be challenging when living with a mental illness, we can feel like there is no need to ask for help or that we simply don’t deserve it. It also can be daunting on knowing where to start when seeking advice on how to look after your mental health. Speak to your GP and they will be able to guide you about what therapies are available on the NHS. You can find further advice on how to talk to your doctor here.
Furthermore, there is such a wide variety of therapies available it’s important to allow yourself to try a few. Some may suit, some may not be for you – again your GP can recommend a therapy most suited. Here is a list of the different therapies currently available.
Making time for yourself
Putting time aside for your mental health and prioritising yourself is extremely important. Life can be busy and we can find ourselves burning out – putting time back into self-care and giving ourselves self-love can do so much good. For advice on how to make more time for yourself visit here. It can also help to take part in a mindfulness exercise: yoga, breathing techniques, meditation. Here you can find out more about what mindfulness is and how to get started.
We can also feel pressured to spend time with others, but sometimes we do need that time to ourselves to refresh and recuperate. It’s okay not to want to always spend time with others, especially after a long day. Here’s more on why it’s okay to isolate yourself from time to time.
Engaging in Self-care activities
Self-care activities can range from applying a face mask to going for a walk, making a favourite dinner, even having a shower – we previously ran a campaign that listed a different activity every day for 30 days, encouraging our readers to take part in each activity and taking time for themselves. You can use our Self-care September calendar here and follow our guide.
Knowing when to take a break
Part of living with a mental illness is knowing when to take a break and step back from things for a while. I often find a sign of when I am struggling is when I cannot concentrate on texting or reading and feel overwhelmed when communicating with friends and family. I tend to then allow myself some time away from it all, go for a walk or just take some time relaxing – even if during a busy week at work just sitting down for a bit of quiet with a cup of tea can help. Here we discuss further why we need to take some time off and how we can run on empty.
Eating well and exercising
Looking after your body is a vital part of self-care and being kind to yourself. What we eat is personal for many complex reasons- financial, cost, culture, but also environmentally and the impact we make from what we eat. Cooking can be a great distraction, especially cooking our favourite meals as can be a form of seeking comfort when feeling low. Furthermore regular exercise can give us a mental boost and make us feel better in the long run, this can even be a short walk to have some fresh air or joining a local sports club or community. I recently joined my local Rugby club and feel this has positively impacted my mental health.
Taking time to build on your self-love and fight those negative thoughts can take time and can be a difficult journey. However a wise person once said:
Saying you love yourself feels ridiculous when you’ve spent years beating yourself down. It seems egotistical, arrogant, cocky. But it’s not about thinking you’re the bee’s knees at everything. It’s about accepting- hell, liking- who you are, flaws and all. It isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time and patience. But if anyone’s worth working hard for, it’s yourself, right?Jodie, pure sunshine ECBC content writer, blog post ‘Between love and self loathing‘.
She’s very wise isn’t she? Imagine if we could just follow this rule – loving ourselves for our flaws at all, how much easier life will be.
We hope you enjoy our self-love campaign this month, please comment below with how you try to be kinder to ourselves and your experience with self-care.
Thank you for reading, Emma x