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being kind to yourself
Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists - be kind to yourself - self care

Don't run yourself ragged being kind to others if you aren't being kind to yourself. Kindness is great! Good deeds are, well, good! But heed this warning: before you race out to bake cookies for your mum or volunteer in an animal shelter, there's something pretty urgent you need to do first. And that, as trite as it sounds, is to be kind to yourself.

Too many of us run ourselves ragged trying to be the most wholesome, generous, and lovely person around, picking up the bulk of emotional and domestic labour all in an effort to be 'nice', well-liked, and to try to rid ourselves of the overwhelming guilt of being a world-destroying human creating garbage and doing garbage things. In the midst of all that rushing around, we forget about ourselves and leave our wellbeing on the backburner. Or worse, we berate ourselves for not doing more, feeling increasingly shit about ourselves no matter what kindness we extend.

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists - be kind - self care

The truth of the matter is that while kindness is well-intentioned, you're doing more harm than good when you put kindness to others above kindness to yourself. It's like they say during flight safety guides - you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you help others. You simply can't do much good if you're falling apart inside. You might commit to picking up your nan's parcel from the Post Office, helping your pal check over their job application, and picking up the cake for your coworker's leaving do.

Then you end up having to bail at the last minute - ultimately pissing everyone else off more than just letting them do it themselves in the first place - because you're entirely overwhelmed, or you've been taken out by the flu because you're so stressed your immune system feels nonexistent. Or your attempts at kindness at the expense of yourself could have unintended side effects on others. Maybe you're spending so much time being kind to others that you're so grouchy and irritable, and end up shoving someone out of the way when heading for the Tube or snapping at someone who's already having an awful day.

This isn't to say that you should sack off being kind entirely, of course. But it's vitally important to look after yourself before you go hard caring for everyone else. And perhaps more so, it's important to recognise that kind gestures might not be an unlimited resource - it can be emotionally and physically tiring to do good. We have to be realistic about what exactly we can take on.

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists - be kind - self care

That means not feeling so responsible for saving the planet that you can't sleep at night or picking up so many errands for other people that you have no time to even consider how you actually feel. You can be as kind and generous as you want and feel able, but only once you've extended that kindness to yourself.

Kindness is self-care. It's getting enough sleep, eating well, and not doing things that make you feel rubbish. It's checking in with yourself mentally and addressing the negative stuff, whether that's stress or a mental health condition. You can't be your kindest and most wonderful self if you're running at low capacity.

You can't save the world if you're pushing yourself so hard you burn out. Putting yourself first isn't selfish, it's self-preservation. It's a way of making sure you're in the right state to do good before you go out and offer kindness to others, enabling you to do more and be better.

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