Woman in the snow

Five ways to be kinder to yourself in 2021

It’s officially February. Fourty days after the new year some of us will be rolling well with our resolutions, some will use the new month to recommit, and some of us will be beating ourselves up for letting the ball drop already.

It’s going to be another unpredictable year, with high potential for stress, anxiety and upset – and we’re still without our usual ways to comfort and take care of ourselves. So instead of big resolutions that are only going to add to that load, how about ditching them for one of these self-care intentions:

1. Practice gratitude every night
Regular gratitude practice has been shown to create physiological changes in brain structure and activity, shifts your mindset from that of limitation and scarcity to abundance, and just plain makes you a better person to be around!⁣⁣
A small gratitude exercise is simply to write down three things you’re grateful at the end of each day. Don’t overthink it, and don’t worry if you miss a day or two!

2. Have more fun
With pandemics, sickness, lockdowns, blurring lines between work and life, everything is so very serious right now. How about an intention to have more fun? Remember fun?

The way we have fun has changed of course, but there’s still fun to be had. Write a list of things that make you laugh or smile, things that make your soul shine – however silly! Do one of those things every week.

3. Prioritise sleep
Sleep is the foundation of good mental, emotional and physical health. Research has linked sleep deprivation to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. A good night’s sleep is an investment in yourself and will mean you’re better prepared to face the day. But with everything else going on, it’s easy for us to sacrifice sleep, so this intention is about prioritising your rest.

4. Do one thing at a time
In an already stressful year, a ton of goals, passion projects, hustles, hobbies, health kicks and fitness regimes is only going to add stress (and let’s face it, will likely fail). Streamline and focus. Be intentional about what you spend your energy on, and put your whole self into that.⠀

I’ve shared about my struggles with mental health. There’s so many nuances in how different people experience it, but one thing that worked for me is just taking one day at a time, one step at a time, one moment at a time.

5. Say “no” 
Related to the above: “No” is most powerful word in our arsenal when it comes to self care.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So many of us are OBSESSED with doing: working, hustling, taking more on. But often the best thing you can do for yourself (and your productivity) is say no. Saying no helps you simplify and focus on what’s really important to you.

If there’s one key intention to keep with you in 2021, it’s to be kind to yourself. Kindness is care, kindness is patience, and kindness is allowing yourself to slow down. When the world is in a difficult place it’s a signal for us to take a breath, and hold close, cherish, and nurture what we have right now.

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