If you’re struggling with your mental health, physical health, or just feel overwhelmed by all the information we are being bombarded with every day, know that you are not alone.
Self-care and mental health is trending across the globe and that is because most if not all of us are having a hard time just living our day to day lives.
Everything has been flipped upside down and on the days that do feel a little more “normal”, there is no doubt someone that will let you know that you did something wrong. Especially, if you happen to post it on social media.
Today on the blog we won’t go over self-care tips (there will be additional resources at the end), but we will focus on another way that you can improve your mood and overall health: kindness. Kindness helps to alleviate anxiety, reduce stress, and is easy to add to everyday life.
Kind people have been shown to have 23% less cortisol ( the stress hormone) and have been shown to actually age slower than the average person. Bonus, practicing kindness produces endorphins (the brain’s natural painkiller).
So how can you start being more kind? Research shows that practicing just six acts of kindness, no matter how big or small, can increase your endorphins and reduce your stress. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Give someone a genuine compliment.
- Donate or support a local food bank, or a charity or cause that you are passionate about.
- Support your local businesses.
- Smile at strangers whenever you can.
- Send a message of encouragement (this can be through text, email, or snail mail).
- Call your friends or family.
- Leave reviews for your favorite businesses.
- Create art with your kids or spouse and hang it on your window for passersby to see.
- Do a chore for a loved one or your neighbor without being asked.
- Send someone a gift card just because.
- Connect with someone, your family, your kids, your spouse, your pets, etc., for at least thirty minutes a day.
- Share positive messages, words of encouragement, and helpful resources on your social media pages.
Practicing Kindness to Ourselves
When it comes to practicing kindness, we are usually the last to receive our own kindness. And, as you’ve seen a hundred times in one way or another, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. So fill yourself up first!
Practicing kindness to ourselves is essential to our mental and physical health. A huge part of showing yourself kindness is by making sure that the little voice in your head (the inner critic) is being kind. Here are some helpful ways that you can change that negative self talk to a positive and kind inner dialogue:
- Saying out loud or reading and posting Positive Affirmations around your house.
- Keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three things in the morning or at night (or both) that you’re grateful for.
- Practicing a loving-kindness meditation, like this one.
In addition to making sure that the words we speak over ourselves are kind, how we treat our body is also a way to show yourself some kindness. Moving our body in ways that make us feel good and eating foods that are meant to nourish our body, mind, and soul are great places to begin. Here are movement practices to show gratitude for your body:
- Going for a walk
- Playing with your kids or animals
If you’re not sure which kinds of foods help to stabilize moods and nourish your body, you can find more information here or by scheduling an appointment with a holistic nutritionist in Oak Brook, IL. Even a virtual consultation or an over the phone consultation can help you to get started.
And, the last way to show yourself a little more kindness is to do something for yourself every day. This could mean taking five minutes for yourself in the morning to drink your coffee and journal or dancing by yourself or with your kids, taking a social media break, enjoying nature, creating art, reading a book, etc.
If you have been struggling with stress, depression, anxiety, or any other mental or physical conditions, contact Vitality Family Health today.
Additional resources to help you cope during social distancing: