You spend all your time being nice to others, but there’s one person you probably tend to forget about: yourself. Practicing self-care and self-love used to feel like a selfish action, but in today’s fast-paced, always-on world, it’s more than needed. Plus, showing yourself some kindness and compassion has some health perks, too; the act has been well-documented in its ability to lower your stress levels, boost your immune system, and help you feel better about yourself—inside and out.
Whether it’s treating yourself to dessert or simply mastering a new type of yoga, everyone can up their level of niceness. It’s as easy as that. Here’s how to get started. And for more ways to live your best life, don’t miss the 20 Genius Tricks to Instantly Cheer Yourself Up.
Try Daily Affirmations
You might feel silly jumping on the daily affirmation bandwagon and starting your day with semi-corny phrases like “I’m awesome” and “I’m important.” The truth, though? Research shows it actually does a lot of good for your mental health, and builds your self-worth in the process. And to learn some tried-and-true utterances, check out the 15 Positive Affirmations That Actually Work.
Take Yourself Out to Dinner
You don’t need to wait for a specific reason to treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant. Sometimes being nicer to yourself means doing something that will make you happy in the moment for no reason at all—even if that’s downing a bowl of spaghetti at your go-to Italian joint. And for more ways to maximize your health, check out the 20 Ways You’re Stopping Yourself from Being More Mindful without Realizing It.
Ditch the Scale
Having a scale in your bathroom can help you reach your goals, but studies have shown they can do some harm, too—particularly to your body satisfaction and self-esteem. If having a scale tends to make you feel worse than better, be a little nicer to yourself by ditching it once and for all and stop basing your worth on an ever-changing number.
Spend Some Alone Time
Sometimes being nicer to yourself simply means taking a break and unwinding with some well-deserved alone time. As nice as it is to spend time with people 24/7, the ultimate form of reenergizing is chillin’ by yourself, even if that’s just watching your favorite shows on Netflix.
Invest in Yourself
If you believe you can do something, don’t wait another second to invest in yourself and start making it happen. Sign up for that college class, start that business, or write that book. Whatever it is, give yourself some credit: If you don’t believe you can do it, who will? If you need a tough hobby to undertake, try out the The Secret Trick For Learning A New Language Quickly.
Sign Up for a Cooking Class
Instead of filling your body with frozen meals and take-out, do yourself a favor and learn how to make a healthy meal by looking into cooking classes. By signing up, you can learn the ins and outs of the kitchen so you not only feel confident when making a meal, but also give yourself what you need to feel your best. Get started by mastering the The 15 Best Steak Marinade Recipes on the Planet.
Don’t Feel Bad About Saying “No”
It’s easy to want to be a yes-man or -woman all the time. The only problem with that is, after saying yes to too many people, you’re left feeling totally drained with no time for yourself. Practice saying “no” and keeping your schedule a little more open to give yourself time to recuperate.
Focus On Your Accomplishments, Not Your Failures
Spoiler alert: everyone fails in life once in a while. Sure, it’s going to feel crappy, but should you only focus on the negatives? Absolutely not. Instead, learn from those failures—then, focus on your accomplishments. That positive mindset will help you grow, whether it’s in life or in your career.
Treat Yourself Like You’d Treat Your Best Friend
Would you tell your best friend how much you hate their thighs, or how you think they suck at their job? No way! So why are you constantly talking negatively about yourself? Stop those habits in their tracks and instead focus on the things you love about yourself, whether it’s physical or something about your character. You have to be your number-one fan, after all.
Focus On Getting Proper Rest
It might be fun to stay up way past your bedtime night after night, but that’s not being nice to your body—not even a little bit. Focus on getting enough sleep every night—which, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is seven hours—to stay fueled and feeling your best, because no one wants to spend every day in a tired, sleepy daze. For tips on sleeping your best, master the 10 Genius Tricks For Falling Back Asleep in the Middle of the Night.
Tell Yourself You Are Good Enough
According to self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff, PhD, quit being so self-critical and be a little nicer, starting with how you talk to yourself. If you’re constantly telling yourself you’re not good enough, that needs to stop immediately. Instead, speak to yourself by saying things like “I accept myself as I am” to help improve your mental health and self-worth.
Quit Counting Calories
Counting calories isn’t fun for anyone—so why do it? Instead, quit obsessing about those numbers and give your brain a break. By eating a wholesome diet that gives you everything you need, you’ll be your best self physically and emotionally. (And will seriously up your happiness.)
Write Yourself a Love Letter
Who says love letters have to be written to you from someone else? If you’re feeling pretty blah, sometimes something as simple as picking up a pen and writing down your feelings on paper can be a fool-proof way to boost your spirits. And, a great thing to hold onto to re-read the next time you need it.
Start Taking Compliments Like a Champ
When did it ever become so hard to take a compliment? If someone tells you they love your outfit or are impressed by your work on a project, don’t respond by denying it or putting yourself down. Instead, accept it and say “thank you.” It’s not as challenging as you think, and it will make you feel really great about yourself in the process.
Find a New Hobby You Enjoy
Oftentimes, your hobbies get overlooked. (And no, watching TV 24/7 doesn’t count as a hobby—at least in this case.) Spend some time soul-searching and find a new pastime—one that’s away from technology—that you really enjoy doing, then devote a couple hours every week to doing just that.
Take Time to Meditate
Meditation doesn’t just give you time to reflect and unwind—it’s also a really simple way to be nicer to yourself. According to the Chopra Center, that time can help you let go of hurt past feelings, help you be more kind, and help you be more compassionate, both toward yourself and others.
Stop Obsessing Over Your Past
Nearly everyone has something in their past that they regret, but why keep beating yourself up over something that’s impossible to change? Stop your obsession with the what-ifs and start being a little nicer to yourself, so you can start living in the moment. It’s a much better place to be—trust us.
Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
Keeping feelings locked up inside can make you feel unhappy real quickly. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and allow yourself to open up and be vulnerable about what matters to you. Part of treating yourself with kindness is making sure you’re able to speak your truth, even if it’s about something that seems silly or insignificant.
Become a Yogi
Yoga isn’t just a great way to reap the many physical benefits of exercise, which includes everything from reducing chronic pain to increasing flexibility, says the Cleveland Clinic. It’s fantastic for your emotional well-being, too, and is a known way to increase self-compassion by reminding yourself through your practice that you deserve kindness, love, and happiness just as much as anyone else.
Rid Your Life of Clutter
Being nice to yourself also means being nice to your home—and having a bunch of junk in your house is only weighing you down. Studies have shown all that clutter not only affects your well-being and mental health by taking away the comfort that’s usually associated with your private space, but it also can lead to poorer eating habits. Fill up some boxes with the things you don’t need and donate them to others who could actually use it. And for more ways to clean up around the house (and everywhere else), see the 65 Genius Ways to Organize Your Life.
Take Yourself Out to a Movie
Need a mental break to de-stress? Look no further than the movie theater. One of the nicest things you can do for yourself—and your mental health—is buying a ticket to your favorite flick and enjoying a big bowl of popcorn until the credits roll.
Take Time to Do What Makes You Happy
It’s easy enough, right? With such busy work and personal schedules, it can be hard to make time for yourself to do what truly lights you up and makes you happy. So, schedule yourself in just like you would someone who’s important to you and make sure you’re spending time being just as nice to yourself as you would the rest of the world.
Use Up Your Vacation Days
It might seem like the office will burn up in flames without you around to keep things in order, but don’t let that stop you from getting away: you deserve to take your vacation days, too. Instead of brushing those hours of freedom to the side, use up every last one of them by doing something you’ve always wanted to do.
Take Time to De-Stess on the Daily
Being stressed can take a serious toll on your health, whether it’s headaches and chest pain or depression, says the Mayo Clinic. To make sure you’re living your best life, make time for yourself to get rid of that pent-up tension… maybe starting with drawing yourself a nice, warm bubble bath after a long day.
Write Down What You Love About Yourself
You don’t need to write an entire love letter to yourself if you don’t want to. Instead, start by jotting down a list of things you really like about yourself and keep it pinned up somewhere you can see it as a constant reminder of how great you really are.
Whether it’s forgiving someone else or yourself, practicing forgiveness will help you move on from things that might be hard to let go of. And once you do that, you’ll move through life with an ease you didn’t even know existed thanks to all those heavy weights being lifted off your chest.
Change the Way You Criticize Yourself
It’s easy to be super critical of yourself when you do something wrong. But instead of tearing yourself apart, build yourself up. Kristin Neff, PhD, says you can do that by first reframing the criticism and accepting what happened, then by figuring out a way to grow from it and have a better outcome the next time around.
Give Yourself Time to Recharge
Speaking of technology, one way to be nicer to yourself that comes with some mental health benefits is spending some time away from your phone, computer, TV—basically anything that has an on-switch. At first, it might be hard to disconnect from the world. But after a little while, that might just become your favorite part of the day.
Make Yourself Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. Giving yourself the chance to giggle as often as possible has been scientifically proven to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that boost your mood. That doesn’t mean you need to sit there telling yourself knock-knock jokes, though. Some time spent watching The Office will definitely do the trick.
Take Advantage of Personal Days
If you wake up feeling kind of blah, use it as an excuse to spend the day doing things that will make you feel like your happy self again. Mental health days are a thing, so put them to good use—even if that means catching up on projects at home and (finally!) making it to your favorite workout class.
Don’t Get Down About Clothing Sizes
It might not feel like it some days, but your clothing size is just a number. That’s it—a measly little number. Instead of focusing on that minor detail, look for clothing you love and that put your self-confidence at an all-time high.
Buy Yourself Your Favorite Coffee Drink
Some days you need to veer away from the regular ol’ cup of Joe and get yourself the coffee drink you really want, even if it’s a little more expensive—and, yeah, maybe a little less healthy. It will surely put a pep in your step, and not just because of all that caffeine. (Though that’s definitely a factor.)
Stop Trying to Do It All
Sorry to break it to you, but superheroes are fictional. You can surely try to do it all, but going overboard will only leave you totally drained. Instead, make a list of all the things you need to get done and choose the most important. Those other items can wait for another day.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
In the age of social media, it’s far too easy to compare yourself to others in every aspect of life, from wishing you were as fit as someone else or wishing got to travel as much. In reality, everyone has their own issues and putting yourself down because you feel like you’re not good enough is no way to live.
Schedule a Massage
On the niceness scale, treating yourself to a massage is pretty far up there. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they’re just as great for relieving everyday stress as they are treating chronic pain. In other words, this is something you should never feel guilty about doing. In fact, it should be part of your monthly budget.
Be Patient with Yourself
Sometimes when it doesn’t seem like you’re getting to the place you want to be fast enough, it’s easy to put yourself down or get angry. Rid that negativity from your mind, though, and instead practice patience: You’ll get there, we promise, and boosting yourself up instead of putting yourself down will only help further your progress.
Purge the Negative People from Your Life
Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a romantic relationship, anyone who’s causing you pain has no place in your life. Part of being nice to yourself is making sure you’re being treated the way you deserve to be treated. If someone isn’t making the cut, it’s time to let them go.
Celebrate Your Crushed Goals
When you hit one of your goals, it needs to be celebrated no matter how small it might be. Whether it’s finally finishing a mile on the treadmill without stopping or getting a compliment from your boss, everyone is worthy of some praise.
Quit Taking Everything So Seriously
Some things you have to take seriously—or, you know, you’d probably get fired. But other things have a little more wiggle room and allow you to have more fun. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and give yourself the chance to be more playful and relaxed.
Practice Letting Things Go
In the words of the Disney song no one can ever get out of their head (that would be the one from Frozen), you have to practice letting things go. Being kinder to yourself means allowing yourself to move on from those daily annoyances and not get caught up in all the stress-causing drama life has to offer. And for more health secrets, don’t miss the 20 Reasons Spending Time Alone Is Essential for Your Health.
Make a Bold Change
It could be as small as getting a haircut you’ve been wanting for years or packing up your bags and moving to your dream city. Choose something you’ve been too afraid to do, then do it. Giving yourself something that’s been on your to-do list for far too long is a great way to show yourself some kindness.
Go on Midday Walks
After sitting at a desk for most of the day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is stepping away from your computer and heading outside into the sun for a nice walk. Getting a little Vitamin D will result in enough feel-good vibes to get you through the rest of your day.
Ask Yourself What You Need
You’re always addressing the needs of others, but how about yourself? Clinical psychologist Chris Germer says asking yourself what you need—and then identifying those needs—is an exceptionally good way to be nicer to yourself. Not to mention finally get what you deserve in life.
Put Yourself First
It can feel pretty selfish putting your needs before others, but sometimes it’s totally necessary. Especially because if you’re completely exhausted from constantly trying to please everyone else, that’s not good for you or other people in your life.
Spend Time Journaling
Sure, you’re not writing about your school crushes anymore, but journaling about your day-to-day or whatever is on your mind does a lot of good for your mental health. According to research out of the University of Rochester Medical Center, it can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and improve your mood—even if you’re just doing it a few minutes a day.
Stop Trying to Be Perfect
Sorry to break it to you, but perfection is overrated—and it’s a big waste of time trying to strive toward something that doesn’t actually exist. Instead of trying to rid yourself of flaws, spend more time talking up the qualities you already have.
Ask for Help When You Need It
That overwhelmed feeling you have isn’t going to vanish anytime soon if you keep adding more and more to your to-do list without getting help from those around you. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to speak up: There are plenty of people in your life who would love to take some of those stresses off your plate, but that’s not going to happen until you ask.
Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode
You don’t have to totally ditch your phone to give yourself a mental break. Instead, occasionally switch it onto Airplane Mode so you won’t receive a bunch of texts and calls 24/7. If you want to play some videos or scroll through social media with some ease of mind, Wi-Fi is still available when you’re cutting out the rest of the world. If you need help unplugging, learn the 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time without a Smartphone.
Slow Down and Stop Being in a Rush
Today, life means getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. But honestly, what’s the rush? Learn how to slow down a little and take some time to smell the roses, even if that means walking instead of speeding off in your car. It’s easier to appreciate the little things in life if you actually take the time to see them.
If you typically say “no thanks” to the dessert menu at restaurants, change that up once and a while and treat yourself to something sweet. A piece of pie isn’t going to kill you—and gobbling it up will certainly put a big smile on your face.
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