It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is kindness. It’s important to be kind to others, but you need to remember to be kind to yourself too! Showing yourself love, compassion and kindness can make a huge difference to your mental health. Here are some of our self-kindness tips, to bring a bit more happiness to your life. You deserve it!
Compliment yourself daily
We’re usually good at complimenting other people, but when was the last time you paid yourself a compliment? If you compliment yourself daily, it can do wonders for your self-worth. Think of something kind that you can say about yourself every day, whatever mood you are in! Here are some to get you started:
“I always try my best”
“I’m kind and I care about others”
“I wear my heart on my sleeve”
“I’m true to myself”
“I have a great sense of humour”
Reframe negative thoughts
This technique, used by therapists, helps to alter negative thoughts to more positive ones. This can make positive changes to your behaviour, and the way you view things. You don’t need a therapist to do this though, you can do it yourself! When you notice yourself having a negative thought, replace it with a more positive one.
Here is a way to reframe some common negative thoughts:
When you think: “I failed and I’m useless.” Tell yourself: “I tried my best and learnt some good lessons”
When you think: “No-one will ever love or accept me.” Tell yourself: “I’m a good person; lots of people out there will love and accept me for who I am.”
When you think: “Things are too hard and I can’t cope.” Tell yourself: “Things are tough at the moment but I am strong; things will get better and I will get through this.”
You may find it tricky at first but keep repeating the technique. Over time, your brain can learn to tackle any negative thoughts and reframe them as more positive.
Your body is fantastic, even if it might not feel like it
Having negative thoughts about your body can take a toll on your mental health. Remind yourself of all the amazing things your body can do, however it looks. Accentuate your favourite features with clothing that makes you feel good. If you have breasts which you don’t like to see, get a good binder*. If you have a penis which you’d prefer wasn’t visible, check out some tucking tutorials on YouTube. If you enjoy wearing make-up, put some on or try out a new look. Not feeling your long hair? Chop it off and rock a short style! All of these ways to express yourself can help you to learn to love your body more.
Please note: These tips are not a substitute for medical advice; if you’re experiencing gender dysphoria, get in touch with your GP and ask to be referred to a gender identity clinic.
*If done incorrectly, binding can cause health problems. Watch this video on how to use a binder safely.
Surround yourself with positive people
The people around you can influence the way you feel about yourself. If you’re an LGBT+ person, and not in a supportive environment, this can negatively impact your mental health. Spend more time talking to people who can help to pick you up and feel good about yourself, rather than those who bring your mood down and make you feel bad about yourself. Get in touch with the LGBT+ community, online or offline. Visit our Useful Links page to see a list of local groups, or look online to find groups, based around your interests. Remember to stay safe online; read Staying Safe Online Tips.
Be kind to others
Paying someone a compliment, or a kind gesture, can boost your mood; seeing you’ve made someone happy helps you to feel happy too! Being kind to others can help you be kind to yourself. Many of us think kind things about others all the time, but don’t always say it out loud. If you find yourself thinking “they’re so funny” or “they’ve really cheered me up”, let that person know! It could make their day and make them more likely to spread kindness themselves. Kindness can have a ripple effect, so start spreading the good vibes today!
Live your best online life
Spending lots of time on social media can negatively impact your mental health. People only show what they want people to see, and seeing this can make people feel like they’re not as attractive, successful or happy as everyone else. It’s important to remember that social media is not real life! Influencers get paid to look a certain way, so spend hours taking the perfect photo. If you notice that you’re comparing yourself to other people, and it’s making you feel bad, remember that it’s their job to portray that perfect image. Pay yourself a compliment, turn your phone off and take some time to do something you enjoy.
Pay attention to the company you keep online too. Liking pages which post positive content can make a big difference when you look at your newsfeed. If you notice that a page, or friend, is usually posting negative content, unlike the page or hide their posts, for a more positive experience online.
Get support if you feel like it could help you to be happier
Everyone is worthy of support, no matter how you feel about yourself. If you’re anxious about getting support because of your sexuality/gender identity, there are many organisations that specialise in LGBT+ issues, who can offer you support in an LGBT-friendly environment.
Here are some great ones:
You are amazing, just as you are
Your sexuality and gender identity are a part of who you are. Embrace yourself and all your amazing qualities, including your sexuality and gender identity. You’re the key to finding your own happiness; take these tips on board and be kind to yourself at every possible opportunity!