In this week’s blog, we catch up with life coach Emer Callaghan who shares with us the importance of being kind to yourself, Emer, a great success in the UK & Ireland, running regular coaching workshops and retreats to helps people find clarity and direction
Being kind to yourself is not selfish. It is not a form of vanity. It is an essential part of living a healthy and balanced life. Life can be hectic and it’s easy to forget about yourself when you are trying to get everything done and make time for everyone else. It’s easy to feel that little niggle of ‘not good enough’ when you are constantly looking at ‘perfect’ images of ‘amazing lives’ on social media. I can safely assume that most of us are kind to those around us. So why is it often so difficult to show that same kindness to ourselves? We put huge pressure on ourselves to do everything, to be brilliant and to have it all. It’s time we made a real effort to be kind to ourselves as well as everyone else.
As a life coach, I work with many different types of people who have a wide variety of goals they want to achieve. One thing, however, is common for everyone – mindset is key to achieving your goals and being kind to yourself is essential in building the right mindset. You will be so much more productive if you have good self-esteem and take the time to care for yourself. Here are a few ways you can build self-love and kindness into your routine.
Here are my five tips to help you stay on track this summer.
1. Notice Your Self-Talk
Pay attention to your thoughts and how you talk to yourself. Are you always telling yourself what a good job you’re doing? Do you tell yourself you look great? Or do you constantly criticise yourself? Imagine if you had a friend or partner who spoke to you negatively all day. You’re running late for work, you spill the milk and they say, “Oh you’re so clumsy”. You drop your keys when rushing to the car and they ask, “Is it any wonder you’re late when you’re constantly spilling and dropping things?”. You get to work and realise you’ve forgotten an important document and they ask, “Seriously, is there nothing you can do right?” You don’t know the answer to a question you’re asked in a meeting and they say, “You are totally useless. You know nothing. Everyone probably thinks you’re such an idiot”. Most of us would get pretty fed up spending time with someone like this and would deliberately avoid being in their company. However, this is often how we speak to ourselves. We beat ourselves up for not being perfect. We focus on what we get wrong and what we can’t do instead of what we’re good at. Make a conscious effort to pay attention to what you say to yourself. Then ask yourself whether you would dream of talking to a friend like this. Only talk to yourself the way you would to a good friend.
2. Set Aside Specific Time For You
Put some time in your diary to do things that you enjoy. When you have a busy schedule it’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list. You might have great intentions to treat yourself but it always ends up being put off because something ‘more important’ comes along. We all need time for ourselves. If it means sitting down with your family and agreeing that Mondays from 6 to 7pm is your time then do that. Make sure that everyone knows that this is your time and respects that. Make it a priority and do not give it up to accommodate others. It doesn’t matter how you spend this time – you might do a class, meet friends, go for a walk or read a book. Just do something that allows you to unwind and make you feel good. It is also very important to get into the habit of taking a few minutes out every now and then. You might just walk outside and take a few deep breaths, you might stop what you’re doing and pay attention to what’s going on around you or you might close your eyes and breathe deeply. It’s all too easy to rush from one job to the next and not notice anything that is happening around you. Take those precious few moments to reconnect to your surroundings and you will feel better.
3. Acknowledge What You Like About Yourself
Take time every day to think about something you did well, something you’re proud of or something that you like about yourself. It might be as simple as taking two minutes in the morning to remember the things you’re good at. You could start a journal and write down three things you did well that day. It doesn’t have to be anything major. You might be proud of yourself for being friendly to the new person at work or you might have pushed yourself to go for a walk and feel delighted that you did. Just make a point of focusing on the positives every day.
4. Go Easy On Yourself
Remember that you can only do your best. Don’t compare yourself to others. Try not to judge yourself. When I work with groups one of the things people really benefit from is realising that others struggle with the same thoughts and worries as they do. Everyone struggles now and then. Even the most successful people who appear completely confident have doubts and fears every now and then. If you’ve made a mistake then remember that you are human. We all make mistakes. Acknowledge the mistake and learn from it but don’t beat yourself up about it. If there is something you can do to rectify things then do that but if there isn’t forget about it and move on. If you are annoyed at yourself for some reason then think about what you would say to a friend who was in your situation. I’m sure you wouldn’t be as hard on them as you are on yourself. No one is perfect so please don’t try to be – you will only be disappointed.
5. Remember That You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup
One of the reasons that so many of us feel stressed and tired is that we are trying to do too much. We are trying to be everything to everyone. We don’t like letting people down. The best way for you to help others is to help yourself first. If you are stressed, anxious and irritable you are less likely to help others than if you are happy, rested and calm. If you are exhausted and your cup is empty then you have no love or strength to share with others. So, the next time you feel guilty for putting yourself first remember that you need to look after yourself before you can look after everyone else. Check out seven ways to improve sleep naturally.
Self-care can often make us feel guilty but it is the best habit you can establish. You are not only looking after you – the benefits spread to everyone. If more people were kind to themselves there would be happier, healthy people in the world. We all deserve kindness in our lives so make a commitment today to be kind to you.
Emer Callaghan is a Life Coach based in Churchill, Co. Donegal who helps people find clarity and direction and live a positive and balanced life. Emer works with companies, groups and individuals through private coaching, retreats, talks and workshops and runs a drop-in Wellness Hour each week.