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Self Care: Be Kind to Yourself

Among the many things we have to keep track of day to day it's no joke that we're going to miss a few things or even make some mistakes. Accepting this reality is difficult overall, especially in the moment that we make those mistakes. If you pay close attention to your inner dialogue throughout the day, what are you saying to yourself, in words or images? Are you talking down to yourself, name calling, or magnifying your sense of worthlessness? If so, these thoughts create an internal experience of distress that in turn wreaks havoc on your body. In fact, if you realize you're spending a lot of time dwelling on these thoughts, it's likely half of your exhaustion is a result of these emotionally charged, energy zapping thoughts.

Self-compassion can allow you to listen to that inner abusive voice and slowly turn things around. If you're thinking that you have to like yourself in order to practice self-compassion, you're wrong. What you do need to do is be intentional and commit to a practice of self-compassion through small acts. Starting small, as stated several times in previous posts, is the key to bigger changes. Some thoughts on beginning self compassion could be:

  1. When you hear that inner critic, say something back! What would you tell a bully in person who was telling you the same thing?

  2. Make that inner critic a source of comedic relief. Create an image in your head of this critic, and make them a caricature. Doing this lightens the mood of these self-inflicted insults.

  3. Make yourself a cup of tea. Or coffee. Or hot chocolate. I know you might want to pick up the wine, which is fine on occasion, but if wine is a source of coping on its own for you it may actually be counter-helpful to your self-compassion. Making something for yourself as an act of kindness--not one of trying to force yourself to relax--is a small way to create a habit of self-compassion.

  4. Take a walk just for you. Really, this is just about getting your body moving AND allowing yourself some you time. If you prefer to spend that time reading a book, that's fine too! The goal of this act of self-compassion is allotting 15 minutes a day to do something just for you. Sort of like a self-date?

  5. Buy yourself flowers. This one may be common for some, or just sound silly to others. If you're struggling with seeing your self-worth and are waiting for someone to give you a special gift to validate that worth, go ahead and just be that person! Initially this might feel silly and that's okay. You might even hear that inner critic telling you how sad it is you have to buy your own flowers. See Vixen blogs on thought distortions.... because that's a big one.

  6. Tell yourself something nice. Did you have a good day at work? Were you productive? Did you notice you made a good choice for yourself today related to your health? Pat yourself on the back and verbally tell yourself that you noticed that. This is not just about being nice to yourself, but also about reinforcing those moments that you do actually make the right choices. Because the truth is, if you didn't love yourself, you wouldn't make any right choices for yourself whatsoever. If you make even one good choice, that's an act of self-compassion, even if you don't particularly feel it.

  7. Listen to a song that helps you feel free. Whether it's Tom Petty's Free Fallin' or something chill and relaxing, let yourself listen to a song first thing in the morning that gets you in the mood to celebrate just a little that you're alive.

  8. Daily affirmations: If you're looking at making self-compassion a more structured habit, affirmations is a great way to do it. An affirmation is a thing you tell yourself that is empowering, and reflects what you WANT to feel about yourself and your life. It doesn't mean you actually feel this way, but is a reflection of where you want to be. Some examples would be, "I take time for myself because I'm worth it," or "I know I can turn down dessert because I care about my health." Others could be "I'm really good at what I do," or "I look more beautiful and wise every day." Challenge yourself to telling yourself 3 affirmations every morning. Write them down on index cards to post up on your bathroom mirror as a reminder.

Wherever you're at in your journey to accepting and loving yourself, self-compassion is in all the small ways we show our devotion to our well-being. It's about intentionally being generous to yourself. So, take that critic off of their pedestal and be kind to yourself. You'll not only feel better, but won't be wasting your time dwelling on negative thoughts that consume you. What ways have you noticed you're already being kind, or want to be kind to yourself? Don't forget to check out the forum and share with your fellow vixens!

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