Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: How to be kind to yourself

5 May 2020

English Language and Literature student, Julie Colonna shares her thoughts on how we can be kinder to ourselves.

White wall with the words 'love yourself' chalked onto it

We are now acknowledging that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) brings just as much if not more than having a high IQ — in Daniel Goleman’s international bestseller Emotional Intelligence, he notes that according to Howard Gardner, (psychologist at the Harvard School of Education) 3 out of 5 of the necessary steps to EQ are built within ourselves.  

To start being kinder to yourself, here are a few things you can try:

Practise meditation

Meditation is not blocking out our own thoughts, sitting there in silence, thinking of nothing. Meditation is looking at your thoughts from above, from an outside perspective, accepting them, noting how often they come and go. We are addicted to some of our thoughts, recognising the more toxic ones is the first step to being truly kind to ourselves. Therapy and Yoga also fall under this category, because we are subconsciously voicing our thoughts.

Clean out your social media

Remove from your timeline anything that makes you feel belittled or unworthy. If there’s a person in your inbox that is draining, mute them.

Take on a project

This could be something mainstream like making yourself a dalgona coffee or banana bread. Personally, I love ironing with my favourite series on and I am absolutely addicted to my paint by numbers of Paris that you can get on Amazon. I have also created a Baking Youtube Channel with my mum so be sure to Subscribe to Jill Colonna on Youtube to cheer yourself up.

Take care of your body

A walk, pilates, stretching, eating clean… Staying indoors can easily get you feeling lethargic and dejected if you neglect your health.

Reach out

Get creative! Download the Netflix party extension, have drinks with your Grandparents over Skype, call a friend while you go for a walk…

Do something sweet for the older generation

This is a particularly difficult time for elderly people who are stuck at home. They also have a lot more experience than we do and have so many life-lessons about kindness and compassion. You could send a package or a card and my 80 year old uncle trapped in his apartment recommends meme sending.

Positive affirmations

Although admittedly slightly corny, they do work. Putting a post-it on the mirror with a reassuring message really does switch up your day — make some for your flatmates or family too! ‘You are enough’ and ‘You are safe’ always make me smile.

Soothe yourself

Only you know what relaxes you the most — it could be a bubble bath, a good book, a series, a film, a cup of hot tea, music, a video game… This is a world pandemic not a productivity competition, don’t forget to take some time for yourself when you feel saturated by work!

Books to read on the subject 

‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ by Mark Manson

‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle

‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale

‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman

Julie Colonna, English Language and Literature student