Most of us try to be kind to others especially our partners, family and friends most of the time. However, within our stressful lives, we’re often so busy making sure everyone else is ok, we forget to think about ourselves.
Being kind to yourself is so important for overall health and wellbeing.
Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares some everyday ways you can bring more kindness into your life.
Be kind nutritionally
Your body will reward you with good health if you show it some love and kindness. Be honest with yourself; are you simply eating to live, often on the run, without thinking about putting the right fuel into the body? Every mealtime is an opportunity to take in precious nutrients the body needs to keep well. Right now, during the winter months, it’s also important to be looking after the immune system.
Think about colour variety on your plate; that will ensure you have lots of different nutrients from colourful fruits and vegetables. Cook up some warming winter soups which will last a few days. You don’t need to overthink them – just throw in as many vegetables as you’ve got in the fridge (frozen is good too). You can also add some beans, lentils or barley to give them ‘bulk’. A thick soup is a very nutritious meal all-in-one.
Be kind to the environment
Thinking about the environment and cutting down on the amount of animal produce you consume is also an act of kindness to yourself. Being completely vegan is not necessarily a good idea for health as it can lead to nutrient deficiencies and it certainly doesn’t suit everyone. However, reducing intake of animal produce, and including more plant-based foods, is great for both your health and the environment.
Cow’s milk can cause inflammation in the body, especially in people with existing eczema, asthma or joint issues. Dairy produce can also disrupt hormones. Therefore, try to include plant-based milks such as almond, coconut, soya, hazelnut and oat. Equally, red meat is high in saturated fat and quite tough on the digestion, so reduce the amount you’re eating. For protein foods, choose sustainably sourced fish, beans, soya produce, organic poultry and eggs.
Be kind to your soul
Do things that make your heart sing! We can sometimes get so entrenched in everyday life that we forget to enjoy ourselves! Long work hours and busy lives leaves little time for ‘play’. However, it’s important to have time doing what you love and that genuinely feeds your soul. Why not take up a new hobby, something you’ve always wanted to try, however diverse that may be?
Perhaps it’s joining a singing group or doing something creative; there’s no end of choices. Start by writing a list and then work your way through.
Be kind to others
If you choose to be anything, choose to be kind. There’s a famous saying: ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’. Not everyone is good and kind in this world but if you set your intention to be kind to others, you will be rewarded, and the right people will gravitate towards you. You know how pleasurable it feels when you do something good for someone, however small, to help them through their day. And it can make a real difference to how someone feels.
Why not think about volunteering? It can bring so many rewards and you often learn new skills on the way.
Be kind to your mind
Spending hours on social media is not being kind to your mind. In fact, it can be very disruptive emotionally. Plus, being exposed to blue light emitted from electronic devices, upsets sleep patterns. Even using a tablet to read a novel is not ideal if your overall exposure to devices goes into many hours a day.
Practicing meditation (and it does take practise) is one of the best things you can ever do for your mind. Just like the body, the mind needs time to rest. It seems to be getting more of challenge to quieten the brain. However, once you’ve mastered it, you only need to find around 20 minutes a day to meditate. The results will be astounding, and you’ll sleep better and more peacefully for sure.
Being kind to yourself and others comes in many different forms but actively practising this in all areas of your life will be uplifting and rewarding for you and those around you.
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