Most of us were raised believing that being kind to others is important. Are you kind to yourself too? Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean spending lots of money on new shoes or fancy jewelry — though if you can afford it, be my guest. I love a pair of fancy shoes as much as the next woman! Being kind to yourself is about doing the little things that make you feel strong and composed in the long run.

Time to Relax

Whether it’s hot baths, curling up with a good book, or going for a long run, make time for whatever it takes for you to really relax. Down time lets your brain recover from the rest of your busy life, anchor new learnings and think about challenges in a new way. It also helps your body to let go of stress, whether mental stress from a tough day, or physical stress from hunching your shoulders in front of the computer.

Delicious, Healthy Food

Good food doesn’t have to mean expensive organics or huge slabs of beef. It means fueling your body’s engine with nutritious food that tastes good. Eat your fresh vegetables, get a variety of textures and flavors into your meals. Try different recipes. Even novice cooks can find great recipes online. I love many of Jamie Oliver’s short-time meals and Donna Hay’s recipes. Eat when you’re hungry, savor every bite, and stop when you’re full. Have that occasional treat — ice cream, chocolate, cheese, whatever gives you that little ‘yum rush.’ It’s about pleasure, not dieting.

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Sleep

A good night’s sleep is the foundation of your day. Get enough (it’s more than you think), and do it in a comfortable bedroom. Soft sheets, soft pjs, a regular bedtime and wakeup time, a nap if you need one. These are the stuff of rest. Far better than burning the midnight oil and crashing on the weekend. You’ll never make it up, and you’ll have tired skin and bags under your eyes.

Friendship

Make room for good times with friends and family. Do whatever brings you together: talking, short trips, a walk in the park, working in the garden, seeing movies. Laughter and friendship are good for your health. Fill your memories with good times that you can go back to when you need a smile. I remember helping friends move house, parties, ski days, weekend getaways and baking experiments that didn’t always work out. When I need a smile, there’s always something good to remember!

Give Yourself a Break

We’re always very quick to see our own failures: the task that wasn’t finished on time, the plants that died, the meal that wasn’t perfect. Relax! Life happens. Put it in context: if it won’t be important in 5 years, why waste 5 minutes being upset about it now? Life’s minor ‘disasters’ can lead to great memories too: have you ever discovered a beautiful setting or delicious restaurant after getting lost? Embrace these adventures, and take it easy on yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned. Simple pleasures are still among the best: easy, inexpensive, and fulfilling. They help you escape life’s hamster wheel of ‘must do’s’. So call your friend and take a walk this evening, have a long bath tomorrow, literally stop and smell the flowers (or the cupcakes). Be kind to yourself! . Main image credit. http://www.mscareergirl.com/2017/07/18/be-kind-to-yourself/

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