We’re taught from a young age how important it is to be kind to others. But is there enough emphasis put on being kind to ourselves? I think not.
What do air stewards say about oxygen masks? You must put on your own before helping anyone else to put on theirs. What’s this got to do with being kind to yourself? Well, how can you expect to be your best self to those around you if you’re not looking after yourself first. So, let’s look into what looking after yourself entails.
While ‘treating’ yourself to things like pedicures and pints might temporarily make you feel good, they don’t really support long term wellbeing (and the latter may be detrimental, especially the next day). Not only do they not support your long term well being, they might also trip you up by making you feel like you’re looking after yourself and stop you from taking action that will yield real results.
We need to rethink some of the activities that we consider to be ‘self-care’ and make sure we balance them with some things that have more longevity in terms of mental wellness. Things that really support your long term mental well-being will also help towards overall happiness.
One of the biggest contributors to deep rooted unhappiness can be feeling like you’re not living a meaningful life. This is something referred to as existential depression or crisis, when people find themselves asking ‘what’s the point?’. We place great value in connection and meaning, so activities that support your long term mental health should contribute to that. Here are three tips that might help:
This is about spending time in the now, not thinking about your to-do list for tomorrow or reflecting on how you should have done something differently in the past. Meditation is really great for becoming mindful, and I recommend Headspace or similar guided meditation apps to get in the groove. Yoga is also another really great way of putting this concept into practice.
2. Spend time outside in nature
You probably already know that exercise releases endorphins, helps decrease stress levels and can make you feel like you can take on the world! But it’s so easy to get out of the swing of being active. You don’t need to commit to running a marathon: even getting out for a walk is great for your wellbeing. Try to get in at least 30 active or outside minutes a day. It can be so easy to stay inside all day and it’s not good for our mental health. A change in environment can often trigger a change in perspective and mood. Next time you’re feeling a bit down or stuffy, see how much better getting out of the house can make you feel.
3. Learning new skills
Learning new skills makes you feel great, illuminates neural pathways, reduces stress, improves confidence and is fun. The learning process often involves setting goals or targets and the sense of achieving these does wonders for our brain chemicals – firing off all the feel-good pathways that make us intrinsically stoked! When was the last time you learned something new?
About Tom Moore
Tom Moore is the Chief Wizard (COO) and co-founder of iAM Learning. The new age of eLearning which uses daring content with engaging storytelling and character-led animation. They draw on the bizarreness effect to create Pixar style learning experiences to give learners content they not only love, but also remember.