When was the last time you were gentle with yourself?
Most of us don’t make a habit of being gentle with ourselves. We set ourselves lots of goals, put ourselves under lots of pressure, and feel the need to go go go until we burn out. Many of us don’t even consider our own needs until we are burned out and we are realizing what care we have neglected ourselves.
So today, I challenge you to be gentle with yourself! But, since that is easier said than done, I have put together this list of seven small ways you can be gentle with yourself today. Pick and choose, or do all of them, it doesn’t matter. But find some small way to be gentle with yourself today. These are stressful times, and you deserve it!
Cook yourself something delicious
What’s your favorite meal? Or your favorite snack? If you have what you need to make it, spend some time in the kitchen making something that brings you comfort! Tune into what you desire and then give yourself permission to do something that is specifically for your own enjoyment.
Read an old favorite book
Or watch an old favorite movie, or listen to old favorite music. Connecting with things that used to bring us joy can help bring us back to that joyful moment. What was your favorite book as a kid? Do you have a copy of it? (Or can you borrow the ebook from your local library?) Let yourself be immersed in the story that brought you comfort as a kid. This can help you tune into that inner child, and give them something loving and comforting. Remind yourself that it’s not silly to take care of that inner child–they are part of you! Be gentle with them.
Give yourself some credit
Even if you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished much lately, what can you give yourself some credit for? What can you be proud of? Have you finished a book recently? Done the dishes? Called a friend to catch up? Even if all you’ve done is decide to take today to be gentle with yourself, be proud of yourself for that! It’s hard to set aside our need for productivity and take care of ourselves. So even if it feels small, remind yourself that you are doing something important. Be proud of yourself!
Tune into your body
Take a few moments to tune into whatever it is your body is feeling. Start at your toes and work your way up. What’s happening in your body? Are you sore? Or tired? Do you feel restless? Take some time to consider what it is your body is trying to tell you. If you’re sore, maybe pull up a yoga video for stretching or draw yourself a bath to soak your sore muscles. If you’re feeling restless, maybe it’s time to take a walk or put some music on and dance around! Set aside how you think you “should” manage your body today, and just listen to what it needs.
Give yourself thanks
You have carried yourself this far in life! Take time today to thank yourself. Thank yourself for taking the time to consider your own needs, for making yourself a nice meal, for putting in all of the effort you have done so far, each day. Even if it doesn’t feel like a lot!
Stop when you’re tired
So often we push ourselves far past our own limits just because we feel like we “should.” Today, I challenge you to set those “shoulds” aside. Today, when you feel yourself getting tired, give yourself permission to stop. Take a break. Get some rest. Do something that allows you to rest like a nap, reading a book, taking a bath. Or do something that rejuvenates you: taking a walk, doing some yoga, journaling, a creative outlet, etc. It seems simple but giving yourself permission to stop when you are tired instead of continuing on until you achieve what you “should” is one of the best ways to be gentle with and take care of yourself.
Turn off your phone notifications
For ten minutes, for an hour, for the whole afternoon! However long you need to take a break from the constant need to be “on.” Let yourself exist in your own space without the pressure of being in constant contact with everyone else, or the stress that comes with seeing your phone light up with new notifications every few minutes. You don’t have to be reachable 100% of the time–you are allowed to take time for yourself to rest, recharge, and prioritize your own needs. If it stresses you out to think that people may be trying to contact you, shoot off a text first! Let them know you’re taking some time for yourself and if they reach out to you, you’re not ignoring them but you’ll get back to them later.