Small ways to be kind to yourself

We all learned in kindergarten about the Golden Rule, right? “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” The majority of us try to live this out daily to maintain some sort of social courtesy. A lot of mental health discussions focus on our environment. We try to be mindful of how we interact with others, how we take care of ourselves, and how we think about the world around us and our experiences within it.

Today, I want to shift the focus away from how you interact with your environment. Instead, ask yourself, “How do I treat myself?” From my own experiences and in my role as a therapist, I have learned that people can wreak a lot of havoc on their mental health with how they treat themselves. Some of us have gotten really good at verbally and emotionally abusing ourselves. Self-esteem, inner monologues, insecurities, fears, and anxieties can all play a role in this. For those with mental health disorders; myself included, being kind to oneself is both the problem and the solution to these symptoms.


Turn the Golden Rule inward: Be careful how you talk to yourself. Is your tone warm, encouraging, graceful, forgiving? Remember that negative self-talk often keeps us stuck. If this is a cycle you need help breaking, I’d strongly recommend finding a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
Learn how to soothe your mind: Life is stressful and we all need coping skills to survive. Consider meditation, gentle music, journaling, or creating something. Distract, don’t ruminate.
Say “no”: Sometimes the best way to be kind to yourself is to set limits on how much of yourself you can commit to certain people and activities. You’re not being selfish. Humans can’t do all things well.
Self-care: Know your needs and figure out how to meet those needs. Suggestions: eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. This is like performing routine maintenance on yourself.
Socialize: We don’t exist in a bubble. Sometimes you will need to intentionally surround yourself with others who bring positivity and encouragement into your life. This is best done in person. Avoid relying too heavily on technology.
Speaking of technology…
Don’t overuse technology: I’ve been saying this a lot in my blogs lately, but it’s important to think about. Humans are complex and social creatures. We were not designed to live life through a screen. Numerous studies that I’ve read assert that overuse of technology and social media are correlated with increased anxiety, comparison, envy, and apathy.
Give back: You may ask, “How does serving others help me to be kind to myself?” Well, it allows you to take the focus off of yourself, which gives your mind a break from whatever it is you’re ruminating about. Plus you get to brighten up someone else’s day. Win-win!


Entire books have been written on the topic of self-kindness; therefore, my conclusion will be simple: Take care of yourself by being kind to yourself.

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