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Friday, 18 November 2016

Steps To Self Care

Hannah Barnes

Happiness is an oft’ sought thing; a quick google search brings up a wikihow, an abundance of self-help pages and even some scientifically backed studies, but being happy, and more importantly maintaining that happiness, in this wild, wild world is actually a very personal journey.

Having said that, here are a few ways we can all cheer ourselves up, look after our physical and mental health and help improve our own happiness and well being.

Give yourself a break 

Everyone has off days, everyone has spilled coffee on your shirt, stuck in a jam, late for everything, worst day of my life days. So cut yourself some slack – stop telling yourself any of it matters and instead be kind to yourself on these days. Self sooth; treat yourself - any way you like - curl up in front of your favourite show, soak in the bath, go for a long walk or grab a drink with friends. Do whatever reminds you that your life is a free flowing thing and you are at its helm though rough winds may howl.

Be kinder to yourself  

We’re often told to be kinder to others; we often tell ourselves to be kinder to others, but people rarely tell us to be kinder to ourselves. We neglect ourselves, put ourselves down and anger ourselves far more than we should. So next time you're mentally berating your lack of knowledge on a subject or inability to get that task just right: stop! Simply stop, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to take a step back. What would you tell a friend in this situation? Does that not apply to you to?

Appreciate the little things  

Over time, we all begin to take the things we have for granted; it’s human nature, but if you came upon your life anew tomorrow what would you marvel at? Make every moment precious, savour it and appreciate it – don’t let the rush of life diminish from the fact that everything in it should be enjoyed; your child’s first piece of macaroni art, falling leaves crunching underfoot, soft pillows and comfortable silences with loved ones. Whatever your little things may be, strive to be present in the moment and appreciation will soon follow.

Do what you want 

Don’t let yourself be beholden to others; you can still be a kind, caring, good person without giving your entire existence over to other people. Ensure you make time for you and spend it wisely. Set everything else aside – work can wait, the kids can order take away, the supermarket will still be there in the morning. There is no real reason why you can’t schedule in a few hours with yourself. Go do what you want and ponder upon the utter perfection of having no one else to please.

Smile daily 

Smile! Smile everywhere you go – pass your smile on, spread your smile around, smile at people on the street – big cheesy one’s like the cat that got the cream – smile at that awful joke, smile at the waitress and even that obnoxious driver cutting you up. Smile all the time, smile daily and refuse to let them make you stop.

There is no definitive route to happiness; we’re all, after all, just bobbing along trying to make order out of chaos, but why not revel in the chaos? Before going on to marvel at the order? Why not have that last slice of pie and a swing dance to boot? Why not find happiness in all of it?

What are the little things in your life that bring a smile to your face? Let me know in the comments section.

Hannah Barnes / Author & Editor

I keep myself busy with my small business; The Loft Gifts, the period poverty charity I run; The Crimson Wave, writing here and for vaious platforms and a growing menagerie of household pets.


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