Is It Possible To Always Be Kind To Yourself? [Insightful Discussions #1]

This is the first post of mine and Niraj’s Insightful Discussions blog series, where we will blog on interesting discussion questions! In this blog post we will talk about whether it is possible to always be kind to yourself, which is a common discussion topic when approaching mental health.

When describing the concept of kindness, there is no concrete definition – it will mean different things to different people. For some people, it means not judging themselves for not being perfect, for other people it means being their own cheerleader. For some, it could simply involve being kind to others. The most important thing is that you find your own way to be kind to yourself.

There are plenty of reasons why we should be kind to ourselves. These include boosting our wellbeing or helping us through stressful events, such as a breakup or rejection. However, sometimes we can be unkind to ourselves too, such as forgoing our relaxing time when facing busy schedules. Therefore, is it unrealistic to ALWAYS aim to be kind to ourselves? It’s in our human nature to question, to be curious as well as to doubt ourselves, because we all want to be the best we can be. However, we both believe that we can all take crucial steps everyday to make sure we are kind to both ourselves and others, because there is never an endpoint to finding new ways of improving upon the way we see/feel about ourselves.

Ultimately, whether we are kind or unkind to ourselves is dependent on our mindset and our thinking. Similar to external habits, our mind creates habits too. We can get stuck in rotational thinking processes (whether positive or negative) and this can determine the way we show up and experience the world. As a result, if we’re used to tearing ourselves down over small mistakes, questioning our self-worth, or any version of being unkind to ourselves, we are more likely to continue doing so because it’s ingrained in our system. But how much control do we have over this? Can we not adapt the way we react to these thoughts and try to reframe them?

The truth is that, like anything, learning to be kind to yourself is a journey. If it doesn’t come easily to you, or you’re stuck in a negative thinking cycle, then it will take work, but it’s entirely possible to improve upon the way you see and feel about yourself. Whether you start practicing positive affirmations, replacing bad thoughts with good ones, or setting aside time each day to focus on your wellbeing, it all makes a difference. 

We personally believe that being truly kind to ourselves is acknowledging those days when we don’t feel great and our mind seeps back to a negative space, and accepting it for what it is. Our mind isn’t a perfect place – it doesn’t always have positive thoughts – but it’s how we react that matters.


Do you think you are kind enough to yourself?

And if so, what strategies help you do so?

Let us know in the comments below.


Gratitude In A Crisis [Guest Post by The Autistic Panda]

This week I’d like to share a guest post by my friend The Autistic Panda! We’ve been friends for such a long time, since we were 13, and she was the person who initially convinced me to create my blog, so I’m super grateful for her friendship.

And, on the topic of gratitude, she’s here to share her personal thoughts on how gratitude has helped her deal with depression and low moments in her life. I think it’s a really inspiring post and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.

Plus, don’t forget to check out her blog over here and give her a follow 🙂


I’ve suffered with depression for a long time and it is hard to get those negative thoughts out of my mind. I’ve often felt like I’m hanging by a thread in my life, but someone is always there to remind me about the good that surrounds me, and I thought I’d share some ways I’ve learned to appreciate my life.

It took a while to open up to the idea of gratitude at first because, when you’re depressed, nothing seems to make sense. But eventually, I realised that there are some positive parts of my life and I always cling to that positivity when I’m deeply sad.

I have an amazing mum, who cherishes me and I am so grateful to her. I have pets, who need me to be there for them. I am grateful for the many licks they give me, the many times they remind me to stay alive, even if they don’t realise it. I have a future, even if it seems bleak when I’m in the depths of depression. That future is vast and beautiful, even if I don’t see it right now. I just want to remind you that you have a future too, even if you can’t see it. We all do.

I am grateful for existence itself, as the gift of life has allowed me to meet many amazing people, animals, and explore interesting places. Whilst sometimes I hate the very thought of existing, I have realised lately just how cool it is. To be alive, right now, in this tiny span of time, is pretty awesome in my opinion. We may be specks of dust in comparison to the universe, but we have the power of imagination and creativity. That allows me to feel like I’m more than a speck of dust, I’m a galaxy, and you are too. Our own bodies are so interesting and unique, it is almost like we are our own galaxy.

Remembering the good things in life allows me to realise that I have a reason for existing. I have a purpose, even if I do not see it. That purpose is lost in the planet that is my brain; it is just one small atom amongst billions, but it is there, and it is just as important as the other atoms. You have to do a bit of searching, looking through a telescope, but you will find that purpose. Just you wait. You’re important, for you build up the universe just as much as anyone else. The universe would be boring without you.

Gratitude is just one of the ways I keep myself alive when I’m feeling like I don’t want to be, but it certainly helps. When you feel like everyone hates you, and that no one wants you there, it is easy to forget that your mind is a mischievous place. It sets up traps, trying to lure you into the darkness, but you can remember what’s real. Stay grounded. Remembering all the things people have actually said to me, rather than what my mind told me they’d say, makes me realise that they do care, and I’m grateful for that. No one is any more important than you; our value is the same. Forget what you’ve told yourself and remember what’s good in life, however small, because small things do matter. Whenever you think you’re small and don’t matter, remember that I said you do. You matter a lot, just like how bees are small, yet their role in the world is so vital. Your role in the world is vital too. I’m grateful that you exist.

Thank you so much for reading this,

The Autistic Panda

I hope you enjoyed reading this guest post from The Autistic Panda and that it added some positivity to your day.

What strategy do you use to help you overcome your low moments?

Let’s share some wellbeing tips in the comments below.


4 Wellbeing Tips To Help You Through Lockdown

For those of us in the UK, we are now in a national lockdown. We’ve been there before, we made it and we can do it again, but that doesn’t always make it easy. I thought I would put together some tips to help any of you struggling with your wellbeing, and to remind myself of the ways I can stay in a positive mindset too!


Find a Purpose

When we think of finding a purpose in our lives, it can seem super daunting. We think of it as this giant thing looming in front of us, trying to work out what it is that is actually driving us forward. However, finding a purpose doesn’t have to be some “big goal” – it can be as little as playing your favourite song each morning.

I found that, during the previous lockdown, finding a purpose was what helped me each day. It took me outside of the situation and helped me focus on a project, rather than think about the uncertainties of the future. For me, this was finally writing the first draft of a book. For others, it may be an exercise regime. For some, it could be starting up a new hobby, like cooking, or art, or starting a blog! Find that little something that makes you excited.

Embrace the Quiet

Lockdown gives us a lot of time to sit with empty space. I think this is one of the reasons why it can seem terrifying; when we’re busy with our lives, we often don’t give ourselves time to think, and it’s only when we think that we face emotions and circumstances that perhaps we were trying to avoid.

As a result, this time is necessary. For some it may be uncomfortable. Emotions may rise we didn’t know we felt. It teaches you how to breathe when there is only the present moment, and I think that is really powerful.

Get Moving

This is undoubtedly an obvious tip, but I find that it’s so easy to let the days pass and forget to go on that walk that I’ve been planning to do all week! And during lockdown, it can sometimes feel like the world is on a go-slow.

Getting moving doesn’t have to be about doing a 10 mile run. It doesn’t even have to be about leaving the house if you don’t want to (although fresh air helps). It can be finding a YouTube workout, or dancing to your favourite music, or walking up and down the stairs before lunch. Just a little something to get your heart rate up and release positive endorphins.

Stay Connected

In an age as technologically advanced as this one, it should be easy to stay connected, but sometimes it can be a little challenging. Keeping up with text messages, wanting to reduce screen time, not feeling like it’s quite the same as in person – however, it is so important for our wellbeing.

Staying connected doesn’t have to mean being glued to your phone 24/7; staying connected means dialling in when it really matters. Schedule in video calls with people you want to see, or reach out and message when you have a free moment. No one is expecting you to be there all the time, even during lockdown, so make sure to give yourself some space amidst it all.

What is your number 1 wellbeing tip for lockdown?

Share your advice in the comments and let’s help each other out!


I Asked 17 People What Happiness Means to Them…

A while ago, I was on Instagram and I was inspired by a post that said “Happiness is…” – I turned to my Mum and asked her what her answer would be, and found that it was completely different to my own. Whilst I answered with an abstract definition, my Mum answered with a real-life concrete example. It made me wonder what everyone else would make of this question.

So, on my quest to figure out different people’s thinking processes, I asked people I know to answer the question too, with the first thought that popped into their head!

At first, I thought about the Myers Briggs personality type – would intuitives be more likely to reply with an abstract answer, and sensors with an example grounded in real life? However, I found there wasn’t a pattern at all, and both overlapped one another.

I found it so interesting listening to everybody’s answers and I think it’s also a great way of learning more about others and the way that they think. So, here is a list of all the answers I received!

I hope it brings a little more happiness to your day!


Happiness is when you are accepting and at peace with yourself and the world around you.

Happiness is walking in nature.

Happiness is being content with what you have in this world and being the best version of yourself.

Happiness is pets.

Happiness is peace.

Happiness is good.

Happiness is to forget about the world and just concentrate on dancing, creating art with the flow of your body to music.

Happiness is travel.

Happiness is freedom and laughter, being lost in a moment where all you feel and all you are is in the present moment.

Happiness is hope.

Happiness is spending time with friends and family and being grateful for what you have.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is feeling loved, feeling like you have enough and are enough.

Happiness is when you find beauty in the simple things of life, when you put love of nature before your own desires.

Happiness is seeing your children happy.

Happiness is contentment, a treasure buried inside of you, waiting to be found within.

Happiness is hugs.

Happiness is happiness.


I hope you found it interesting reading everyone’s answers!

I’d love to make this into a series with more fill-in-the-gap questions, so let me know if you’d be interested in reading this kind of post again, or feel free to suggest future questions!

And don’t forget to leave your own definition of happiness in the comments below – I’d love to hear it!


Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 19

The challenge for this week was… Reduce Sugar!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

As I’m writing this post, I am currently drinking a fruit smoothie, but one I’ve made myself, with only natural sugars! I’ve found that this is one of my favourite ways to have a sweet snack without consuming lots of preservatives, sugars, etc. (I’ll leave the recipe at the bottom of this post) and it’s super easy to make as well!

I think having healthy snacks is all about getting into a new mindset where you replace old eating habits with new ones. As I mentioned in my Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter, eating healthy snacks isn’t actually more difficult than grabbing a pack of crisps or a chocolate bar; we just have to rewire our brains and our inner temptations to do so.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any sugar this week – no one is perfect – but I think I got better at reaching for something more sufficient when I felt the waves of hunger creeping up on me.

Here are a few things I tried, aside from the fruit smoothie:

  • Nuts – reaching for a pack of almonds
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, etc.
  • A carrot – my Mum’s idea. Apparently, because it involves a lot of chewing, it fills you up more.
  • Cheese – I may have had a babybel at one stage, but in future I will just cut a chunk of normal cheddar cheese!
  • Having an early dinner – when I get hungry at half five/six, why not start cooking dinner? By the time it’s cooked, it’s a normal dinner time anyway.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what other healthy snacks could be good to try, especially when I’m concentrating on work and I don’t want sugar to spike my energy levels.

If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments below! Let’s all share our healthy tips!

 

Smoothie Recipe (for 2):

Blend all the ingredients below.

(I make this in a Nutribullet)

  • A handful of walnuts
  • A banana
  • A handful of frozen berries
  • Honey (optional)
  • Protein Shake and/or other powder supplements (optional)
  • Oat milk (or whichever milk you prefer) 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 18

The challenge for this week was… Read Before Bed!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

Reading before bed is something I started doing at the beginning of 2020. Since university (or even A levels), I lost my love of reading for fun, because I was so focused on reading for educational purposes. Now that I’ve graduated (and we’ve been in lockdown), I’ve had more time to read than ever and I’ve been really enjoying it!

Ever since I started reading before bed, my sleep has improved hugely. I find it difficult to switch off my mind at night, so putting away my phone (and any screens with blue lights) and focusing on a book helps me wind down.

I noticed that the one night I didn’t read before bed this week, it took me a lot longer to fall asleep. It’s become such a habit that I rely on it a lot to help me feel sleepy, and it’s become so ingrained in my routine that even if I skip one night I really miss it!

I think there’s so much conflicting advice on how to sleep better – some people say that doing a passive task (such as watching TV) is better than doing an active task (reading), whereas I’ve found it to be the opposite with me. Perhaps by doing an active task it tires my brain out quicker.

Either way, I find it very interesting how the brain can be affected so hugely by small changes to everyday routines.

What change have you recently made to your routine? What was the effect?

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 17

The challenge for this week was… Declutter your Home!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

I feel good embarking on writing this post because I feel like I’ve done a great job of decluttering this week!

My main focus was my clothes – most of which I’ve somehow accumulated since I was about 13/14 years old. There were a lot of worn down fabrics and nostalgia more than anything.

I decided to take the classic Marie Kondo method and I threw everything on the bed at once to shock me into taking action. I don’t even want to admit how many jumpers I had, but it was more than 30…

My friend, who is into organising just as much as me, helped me sort it all out! She suggested splitting the jumpers into colours, so I would only keep one or two of each colour. This helped a lot, because I could compare more easily and pick the one I was drawn to the most. I think having someone else there helps – it definitely made me more brutal with my decisions!

As I picked each one up, or tried it on, I asked myself whether I felt amazing in it. If I didn’t, what was the point of keeping it? I ended up piling up loads of old clothes, and the larger it got, the happier I felt. It felt like throwing away unnecessary stress!

I am particularly glad that I finally got round to sorting out my sock drawer. There were so many old socks that had shrunk in the wash!

As a whole, I’m really pleased I’ve sorted out my clothes. I feel like I could go back in a month or two for a second round, and get rid of a few more items, but for now I’m glad it’s looking a lot better. And, for the first time since before university, all my clothes are in one place, so it’s much easier to get a grasp of everything I own.

Have you been doing any decluttering lately?

How does it make you feel?

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 16

The challenge for this week was… A Compliment A Day!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

If I’m honest, I wouldn’t say I’m a natural compliment-giver. If I like someone’s top I’ll likely mention it, or if I’m reviewing someone’s work and I think they’ve done a good job. However, I wouldn’t say I go out of my way to do it. But I should! Here’s why…

I noticed this week that the smallest of compliments can actually make a huge difference to someone’s mood. Although I didn’t compliment as much as I would have liked, simply saying I loved someone’s outfit, or dropping someone a kind comment online, made me happy because I felt like I’d made someone else happy, you know?

It made me aware of all these opportunities where, originally, I perhaps wouldn’t have said anything, but the challenge encouraged me to speak up and compliment, and that’s exactly what I’m aiming for with writing the Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter – to push myself beyond my base capacity, to try new things, to experiment and see what happens!

I also noticed this week, that when someone complimented me, it put me in such a good mood. It’s an amazing feeling when you feel like someone else appreciates you. It made me think: this is what other people feel when I compliment them, so isn’t that even more reason to do it?

A while ago, I published a blog post all about how important having a good/positive aura is, and I genuinely believe that if you’re the sort of person who goes around being kind and complimentary to others, people will do the same back to you. The world works in crazy ways like that.

So, overall, I feel like this week was a great time to reflect on my choices and spread some kindness. I like to think I’ll go into the next few weeks continuing to compliment where I can, and I hope you will join me!

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 15

The challenge for this week was… Stroke a pet!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

This week I put my huge photo album of cat photos to good use by including them in my Weekly Wellbeing Newsletter. Spending time with animals – whether they are your own pets, someone else’s, or videos you are watching online – can really change your mood into positivity and happiness.

If I haven’t spoken about them enough already, I have two black cats – Monty and Jasper. I see Monty as a bit of a grandfather – he is lazy but wise and loves all the attention he can get! Jasper, by comparison, is like a little baby – he is anxious, likes his own space, but when he trusts you he is unbelievably affectionate.

It’s strange because, as if Monty knew that spending time with cats was the challenge for this week, he bounded over to me on the sofa one evening and lay on my lap for a whole hour (which is really unlike him!). He was being extra soppy, and almost fell asleep, and it was honestly the sweetest thing!

I’ve also been picking up Jasper to give him lots of hugs this week. A couple weeks ago he was really ill and wasn’t eating, so I’m really glad he’s back to normal again as we were all really worried.

I also got a chance to see my friend’s dog too, which was really lovely!

 

 

Have you been spending time with any animals this week?

Let me know in the comments!

I want to hear all about your pets and their names!

 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 14

The challenge for this week was… 5 Minutes of Deep Breathing!

Here is a small overview of how I got on with the challenge.

[and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!]

This week, I tried a few different ways to practice deep breathing. On the days I was feeling tired, I would stay lying in bed after my alarm went off and do the deep breathing on my back, starting the day with a calming breath. I think it helped me feel more awake!

Other days, I sat on the edge of my bed, and practiced deep breathing whilst looking at my vision board. This was a great way of setting positive intentions, whilst also exhaling out any stress simultaneously. I enjoyed letting my mind wonder and think about my future, but also reigning in the breath and reminding myself of the present moment.

The problem with deep breathing (or any meditation) is that I find it hard to make a consistent routine. I often forget to do it, or my mind automatically dreads the time I have to sit still – because I’m rearing to get up and get things done! But then I’m happy to spend that same amount of time scrolling social media – it’s hypocritical!

As a result, it’s all about creating a mind shift. I must associate deep breathing with something good – and it is something good; it increases wellbeing and productivity.

Perhaps I need to stop talking so much about meditation and start doing it!

Have you been practicing deep breathing?

How does it make you feel?