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5 Acts of self kindness to adopt on your health journey.

If, for a long time, you have struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with food and this in turn has lead to poor weight management and mental health, you can end up feeling pretty crappy about yourself. Sadly this is likely to perpetuate a cycle of self abuse and neglect.

Here are 5 ways to show yourself some compassion. Being kinder to yourself will give you the strength and confidence to accept yourself as someone who is doing the best they can with the tools that have and provide more tools to help you build upon that foundation.

  1. Affirmations.

Being British means that it is not natural for us to stand in front of a mirror naked and declare our love for what we see! But, affirmations have been proven to improve self esteem. Find something that you genuinely like about yourself or ask a loved one to identify a quality. Then repeat it to yourself throughout the day/week/month. Saying it out loud, even if you can’t shout it from the top of your voice, will secure the affirmation in your conscience. Whenever you catch your inner voice being unkind to you, counter the argument with a positive affirmation.

  1. Journalling.

Writing down thoughts and feelings enables us to make sense of them and even see them from a different perspective. The act of writing them down ignites the logical part of the brain. You may chose to share your journal or keep it to yourself. You may even decide to re-read it at a later date which will again bring new perspective on your thoughts and feelings. Try and be neutral with your terminology. Or, if you need to let loose, go back when you feel more balanced and try to reframe / rephrase what you have written to explore the cause of the emotions. For example: “I’m such a failure” may be rephrased as. “I feel like I let myself down and I’m left feeling frustrated and disappointed.” Be specific. Move away from sweeping judgements of yourself and explore the specific cause of that feeling. Again. I’m a failure v I failed to achieve (specific goal) which makes me feel bad but that does not make me a failure.

  1. Breathe.

Just 2-5 minutes of breath work 3 times a day can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn can calm you down, promote good digestion and rebalance your mood. It sounds miraculous because it is!!! Try it if you don’t believe me!!! Try breathing in for 4 counts, holding your breath for 4 counts then breathing slowly out your nose for 8 counts. Do 5 sets 3 times a day and you’ll notice the difference.

  1. Read.

Whatever your journey, you are not alone! The internet, Amazon, You Tube, holds a wealth of knowledge. Dedicate some time before bed (saves killing time on socials) to learning more about your particular issue or human psychology generally. I have found books like, The Chimp Paradox, Sapiens and The Body Keeps The Score, hugely educational and informative. I understand myself and others better, making me kinder and more patient with myself but also with those around me!

  1. Connect.

Having struggled myself with anorexia I know only too well how isolating it can be. It was the struggle to recovery and the help I received which encouraged me to become a coach, and motivated me to start my own business helping women overcome their unhealthy relationships with food. I am not alone, there are a whole host of groups such as mine Eat Happy designed to support you with whatever issue you are facing. Whether you make connections in person or online i would encourage you to reach out. You might find that one to one coaching is the best form of connection but groups can play a great supporting role. Just be mindful of how some groups leave you feeling. If you find their chatter exacerbates your behaviours or leaves you feeling emotionally drained, don’t be afraid to step away. These varied forms of self care are designed to bring a sense of calm, control and understanding so that you create change in yourself and move away from feeling stressed, out of control and confused.

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