Practicing self-love when you’re in the thick of a mental illness can be a tall order. Feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and the general grind of getting through a day doesn’t leave much room for giving yourself a little TLC.
The truth is, the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one of all. Loving yourself is an important step in recovery and living a good life.
Not sure how to get this self-love flowing? Here are a few tips to help you be your own bestie.
Benefits of Self-Love
So, what’s the big to-do about this woo-woo self-love talk so many are on about?
Well, quite a bit actually.
When you can show full appreciation for yourself (flaws and all), here are a few things that can happen:
- A more fulfilling connection with others
- Alignment with your job and purpose
- Inspiration and new ideas
- Creativity and expression becomes more fluid
- Increased resilience from rejection or failure
- Motivation to get what you deserve from life and relationship
Self-love isn’t a trending morning routine, it is the foundation of fulfilment and peace.
Get on it! Here’s how.
Tip 1: Don’t Apologise For Your Mental Health
Do you apologise because you were born with two eyebrows rather than three? Or that you have a really short pinkie finger? NO. Mental health is a result of genetics, lifestyle, trauma and a whole heap of shit really. It’s out of your control.
Don’t apologise for whatever it is that plagues you.
That doesn’t mean ignoring the impact your words or actions have on loved ones. ALWAYS own that.
Tip 2: Radical Self-Acceptance
Denying the state of your mental illness isn’t going to make it go away. And as painful as it may seem sometimes, just acknowledging it and how it impacts you is the first step toward self-love.
It’s equally important to know that accepting your condition doesn’t mean you identify with it. You are still you, just with something extra to cope with. You and your mental health deserve acknowledgment and respect.
Tip 3: Self-Compassion
Being tough on yourself can be an emotional addiction. Especially if you grew up being constantly criticised or judged, self-deprecation can feel like home.
Make it a habit to be critical against your inner critic. As soon as a thought against yourself arises, challenge it. Yes, you must stand up for yourself, against yourself. You wouldn’t let a bully get away with ridiculing or talking down to someone, so why would you put up with it?!
Go easy on yourself. Life is hard, you aren’t meant to do it perfectly.
Tip 4: Stay On Top of Your Self-Care
Love is a feeling but care is an action. Mental Illness can make you notoriously more prone to self-neglect.
Do the little things like maintaining good hygiene and a clean space. Then, progress to taking yourself on coffee dates where you get the fancy almond croissant and take the window seat for yourself.
Small steps create change and it starts with you. They say you teach others how you want to be treated and if you’re treating yourself like an afterthought…well, you get the gist.
Tip 5: Set Boundaries
Boundaries prevent you from being pushed to the edge and from feeling emotionally drained or out of touch. It can be hard to practice self-love while allowing others to treat you as they please.
Get comfortable with saying “no”, stopping unsolicited advice, taking time to reflect before responding to messages, and expressing your needs.
Tip 6: Learn to Listen to Yourself
Emotional check-ins are really important for cultivating self-love especially if you have a mental illness.
How am I feeling?
What do I need?
What are my thoughts about what just happened?
Without judgment or criticism, recognise your thoughts and feelings. You don’t even have to take action, just putting a little energy into honouring yourself can make a HUGE difference.