Three simple steps to practise in being kind to yourself when you've recently become single
So you’re a pretty busy person. You’re juggling your work life, home environment, financial commitments, social activities, family engagements, not to mention the general adjustment to the change in normal routine that being single has brought with it. It can be difficult to stay on top of everything and to feel like you’re functioning efficiently. Even when you do get everything done, you feel like you’re just going through the motions and nothing's good enough. You know that something’s not right but you keep going anyway - ignoring that niggling voice in your head and putting everything and everyone else first. You keep yourself distracted by accomplishing tasks, and whilst you know that you should be looking after yourself better, it always gets put to one side.
The trouble is, when we neglect our own emotional needs we can only keep going for so long. Negative patterns of thought and behaviour lead to stress and anxiety, which in turn can have very destructive physical consequences. You can be relentlessly and determinedly pedalling away at life, thinking everything is fine and then all of a sudden you’re rudely awakened by a “health scare”. Has this ever happened to you? Your previously reliable, functioning body abruptly says, “that’s it, enough is enough” and goes wrong in some way. Sadly, it can often take an alarming physical break down to happen before we stop and realise that we’ve not been taking good enough care of ourselves. Sometimes we take for granted that our bodies are just very complex machines. Just like any other machine, when you don’t keep things oiled regularly and take proper care of all the parts, things simply stop working.
When we think of self-care, we often think of physical practices i.e. eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, sleeping properly, but as our emotional state of mind plays an enormous role in our overall wellbeing we should also take time to preserve and care for it. But how many of us specifically devote time and energy to nurture and take care of our mental and emotional wellbeing? It's funny that we often forget that part. Our minds are busy running absolutely every other aspect of our intricate bodies - they are the marvellous epicentre of the human machine where all processes are decided and initiated. It’s up there in your head working away every day at enabling you to do all the things you do. So, just like every other part of you it needs to be given appropriate love, care and attention.
Many of my clients come to me because they want to be kinder to themselves. They’ve come to a point where they know they must listen better to the signals their bodies are giving them when their minds are overwhelmed. They want to focus purely on themselves for a period of time, to get clear on their own wants and needs, and set their minds back on the right track. What better time to do this than when you're single? It's the perfect opportunity to put yourself first for once! In my younger years I used to let emotional stress get the better of me and wound up with all manner of horrible physical consequences. Through my own personal learnings (the hard way) and through my professional training I know how to nurture and care for the mind to prevent things ever getting to that point, and I can help you to do that too.
Obviously every individual is unique, and on a personal basis I’d recommend different exercises and techniques specifically tailored to suit your own personality and circumstances, but here are a few introductory pieces that you may find useful as a starter for ten in committing to your own self-care.
1. Actively celebrating - both success AND failure
No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, consciously take time every day to celebrate something. It could be a simple success such as paying off your credit card or a bigger achievement like getting a promotion. If you feel you’ve failed at something, try to celebrate the useful lesson you’ve learnt from it - doing something the wrong way means you’re more likely to get it right next time!
2. Accepting all parts of yourself
Write a list of the things you beat yourself up about - your own perceived weaknesses. Now next to each of them, write a sentence that starts with “This is a good thing because...”. If you find this difficult, look for the 2% truth in the statement you’ve written. An example could be, “I am often messy and disorganised, but this is a good thing because it gives me the flexibility to be creative”.
3. Avoiding over-analysing
When you find yourself over-analysing or thinking round and round in circles, mentally propel yourself to a future you - in 10 years' time. Ask yourself from this perspective, “does this seem so important when I look back on it from this angle?”. Even if it's an important issue, ask yourself whether over-thinking helps or hinders you in overcoming it.
Giving due care and attention to your mental wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical health. These are just a few simple mental exercises that you can work into your daily life so that they become a habit. You’ll find that by practising them, you feel stronger and more resilient in times of emotional stress, and better able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
Thanks for reading
If you know you need to work on your own emotional self-care but it always gets put to one side then I have a series of in-depth strategies that can help you to prioritise your own needs and be kind to yourself. Get in touch here and book a free consultation if this interests you!
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