The start of the new year is the perfect time to take a look at how we treat each other and how we treat ourselves. How we treat ourselves is a crucial part of mental health. After all, if we are not kind to ourselves, how can we expect to thrive in this rough-and-tumble world? Here are 5 easy ways to make it happen for both kids and adults:
Tips for Adults:
- Take care of your body. Regular activity and healthy foods are an important part of self care. Our bodies are our most important asset, and deserve to be treated with kindness and care.
- Toss out the “shoulds.” “I should have done this” or “I should have done that” are statements that can be tough to recover from. We all make mistakes. The best we can do is make amends, learn from our mistakes and move on.
- Give yourself a break. Regular vacations, adequate nightly sleep and plenty of unplugged time are important ways to show kindness to ourselves by giving our bodies and brains a break from the rigors of everyday life.
- Forget about the Joneses. Most of us want to “keep up with the Joneses,” but unfortunately it can be a destructive (not to mention impossible) goal. Instead of trying to be the best on the block, focus on what’s right, important and unique to your and your family.
- Find something you love. The power of hobbies is underrated. Whether it’s a passion for pottery, baking, running or reading – carving out time and resources to engage in a fun hobby can be one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves.
Tips for Kids:
- Put it on paper. Writing or drawing a picture that says “I like you” or “thanks for coming to my house to play” are easy things to write down and can mean a lot to the person you are writing to. You can even try writing a note of kindness to yourself!
- Talk about the good things. Ask each person in your family to say one good thing about their day. This helps us to identify and focus in on positive experiences from the day. “I had fun playing soccer at recess” or “My lunch was extra-yummy” are all examples of good things you might say.
- Lend a helping hand. Helping others can be a great way to show kindness – and it can make you feel good too! Help your little brother get dressed, clean up your books, or help mom wash dishes or set the dinner table.
- Be kind to your body. Eating healthy foods, like fruits and veggies, and being active by riding bikes, kicking a ball or playing on the playground are all ways to show our bodies kindness. Getting lots of sleep is important too.
- Encourage yourself. Go me! It can be easy to say un-kind things about ourselves when we make a mistake or do not do well on a test. Instead, try saying encouraging things like “At least I won’t make that mistake again!” or “I just need to keep practicing and I’ll be better every time.”