Celebrating Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Kindness comes in many shapes and forms: saying thank you to a key worker, giving someone a slice of your freshly baked banana bread, or even just encouraging your friends. But as life goes on, and we hold the door open again and again or help an elderly neighbour with running errands, we can often forget to be kind to one particular person: ourselves.
With exams, a pandemic and the daily stresses of life, we can get so caught up in being the best person for everyone else. We try being supportive to all of our friends, family and those around us but sometimes we forget about what’s best for us. Recently I’ve found myself drowning in trying to be everything to everyone. It feels like there’s a never ending list of things to be done. Past papers to “attempt”, events to be organised, dinner to be cooked and emails and emails and emails to reply to! Combine this with a lockdown, and the thing that gets forgotten about first is being kind to yourself. I have ended up prioritising getting all these tasks done, forgetting to take a moment for myself and the cost is paid with high anxiety.
So what’s the solution? What does being kind yourself entail?
I’m not going to preach to you about self love, or tell you to go meditate, although these are great things, and the College has some great workshops going on next week. I believe that being kind to yourself starts with the little things. Give yourself a moment to breathe. When the going gets tough and I can’t do question after question and it feels like I have hit a brick wall, I used to try to keep going, I thought that’s what trying hard was, however I have now realised how unproductive this is. It works better to just stop for a few minutes, take a break, or go to sleep if it’s already late. When I come back to it, I always find I am able to tackle those tough questions.
Acts of Kindness – to yourself
Give yourself time – Plan breaks and make sure you take them. And know that they’re guilt free. If you feel guilty about taking the break, then you’ll just end up stressing more and it isn’t a break anymore. Planned break time or time that you need is just for you. Enjoy it!
Give yourself recognition – It’s so easy to only remember what’s gone wrong. Whether its thinking about your day of revision or how an exam went. Try to remember the positives. Give yourself credit for all the hard work you have put in. Make sure you feel happy about the good things that have happened.
Forgive yourself – It’s so easy to make mistakes we all do it. Forgetting to set an alarm and missing a morning of studying, forgetting a formula in an exam costing marks. Whatever it may be, it is not more important than you and your wellbeing. It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s not worth putting yourself down over something like this.
Treat yourself – Have that extra biscuit. Lie in for an extra hour. Watch that extra episode. Do whatever makes YOU feel happy. You deserve it, trust me.
Believe in yourself – You CAN do it. You have put in the hard work, you’re over half way there. Having that little bit of confidence in yourself can take you that one step further. Have faith in yourself and everything you’ve done and achieved to date. Your deserve the very best. You are enough, in fact, you’re way better than just enough.
You can only really be kind to everyone else once your kind to yourself. So keep clapping for our key workers, keep making other people smile. But first of all, be as kind to yourself as you would be to anyone else you love.