Be kind to yourself. It’s advice that is repeated several times but rarely followed. We have somehow convinced ourselves that the only way to enjoy life thoroughly is to push the limits in whatever we do.
If we want to play the ukulele, we have to be good enough to start a YouTube channel. If we couldn’t reach that level of expertise, then it’s a waste of time. If we want to learn how to draw, we have to be good enough to sell our artworks. We always have to prove ourselves, prove that we could be good at anything we set our hearts on. And thus, we forget how to enjoy life without pressures.
While the pandemic has forced the world to slow down, competition has not abated. On the surface, we saw deserted streets, the winding down of operations, empty subways, and buses. But at home, everyone is busy online, showing off how their lives are either worse or better than the others. Maybe at first, it was a competition as to who felt worse in getting stuck at home. Then it became who can do online challenges better and have more fun while stuck at home. It doesn’t matter what the issue was. The point was to beat the others.
Maybe we should go back to the basic question, do we know how to be kind to ourselves? Often, we are limited to our physical conditions. But our healthy body is just one aspect of our being. We should also look towards how we feel and how we think.
We have here some basic things you could do to remind you of your self-love.
Get physically comfortable
First of all, set up your environment. It’s that time of year when basking in the sun, and absorbing all its addictive endorphin goodness, could no longer be part of our daily routine. Add to this that we are discouraged from joining big gatherings indoors; we might feel a new wave of loneliness soon. Before that sets in, make your living and working spaces comfortable so that you feel relaxed and not confined in thinking about those long hours moving in those spaces. In the coming cold season, be warm and toasty. Get good window coverings to add another layer of protection from the cold outside. If you have an old fireplace, try to get it going. Crackling fire livens up the atmosphere more than the humming of a heater.
Plan your day
Even if you don’t follow anything in your plans, planning still gives a sense of wellness. It gives you the feeling of being in control. Just be flexible when things don’t go as you expect them to. Daily planning and experience that things don’t always go as planned conditions you when you fail to achieve a major objective. As long as you know that you did what you should have done, you will have no regrets if you fail. There are things that we could and could not control.
Also, set boundaries so that you don’t over-exert yourself. Although you would want to cram everything you think you could do into your schedule, acknowledge that you only have one body and limited time. As what the old cliché goes, don’t bite off more than you could chew.
You deserve a tap on the back, regardless of how you feel. Be grateful for the fact that you are fighting, surviving, and living. If you feel anxious, incompetent, or lacking, look back and see the progress you have been making. It would be nice to have a journal where you could log in to your accomplishments for the day. They don’t have to be huge. Finally, clearing the clutter in your work area, for example, should be recorded as an achievement. Cooking yourself meals instead of ordering takeaways would be another. These little things all add up to your self-worth. You can do something. You can do little things that can become larger over time.
Now we are finally coming to the close of this year. The health crisis is not yet ending. We are once more stuck with meaningless competitions shamelessly displayed over social media. People are outdoing each other with their isolation getaways. Or perhaps showing off which locality has eased up their restrictions more than the others.
The key to survival is not being better than the rest. That only adds to unnecessary pressures. Rather, in the long run, what we need is kindness, most especially towards ourselves. If things get too much to bear, take a break and give yourself some time to slack off. Afterward, gather your strength, breathe deeply, and feel alive.