8 simple ways to be kind to yourself

When was the last time you put yourself first, even for just a moment? Or how about the last time you chose to care for yourself? Self-care makes up an essential part of a healthy lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and more in tune with our minds and bodies. So often, we get so stuck in a "have to" mindset that we forget about the necessity of the "get to" mindset.

Oftentimes, our health and wellbeing end up last on our list of priorities as we move through our day with a "have to" mindset. We pretend that we are superhuman existing on caffeine and the notion that we must get everything done.

When I am lost in the shuffle of life and can't seem to find the right button to push in order to slow it down, I find myself looking to my children for clarity. There is simplicity in everything they do; a kind of wonder that shows in every step they take; a calmness that allows them to live in the moment and take in all of the beauty that surrounds them. Curiosity still drives their desire to learn and their passion and joy in life is simple; they live to love and love to live.

You can find calmness and clarity every day, but it requires you to make it happen. Finding simplicity and joy by being kind to ourselves is one of the best things we can do to prioritise our health and wellbeing.

Here are eight simple ways to be kind to yourself each day:

1. Say no to someone or something. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you will wonder why you waited so long

2. Reconnect with nature - simply put; get outside!

3. Be OK with doing nothing. This allows your mind and body time to connect with each other

4. Adjust your expectations. If you find that your energy is low and your mind feels cluttered, shift what you require of yourself

5. Let go of one thing on your list. This will allow you time for #3

6. Exercise. We all know that exercise boosts endorphins, so try thinking about physical activity in terms of how happy it will make you feel - the physical benefits are just a great bonus

7. Unplug. These days, it feels like everyone's glued to a phone, laptop, or both at the same time. Deliberately taking a break from social media, email, blogging, and so on can help us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level

8. Laugh! And not just a casual laugh. This must produce the rumble that you feel deep in your stomach as you realize this fit of laughter can't be stopped.

Sara Lindburg has a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.Ed. in Counselling. A 41-year-old wife, mother, and full-time secondary school counsellor, she combines 20-plus years' experience in the fitness and counselling fields and she has found her passion in inspiring other women to be the best version of themselves on her Facebook page FitMom. Her inspiration for writing comes from her 6-year-old son, Cooper, and 8-year-old daughter, Hanna.


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