Kay Hutchison of My Life in 37 Therapies reminds us to be kind to ourselves
Kay Hutchison is the author of My Life in 37 Therapieswhich was published by Red Door. She had a crisis in her life, followed by a period of several years in which she had to make a fresh start to reset both her personal and working life as well as improve her mental and physical well-being. She documented this time and her experiences with 37 different therapies in her memoir (out now as an audiobook from Belle Media on Audible or Spotify).
Be kind to yourself
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK this week (and mental health awareness month in the US), and the theme in the UK is “kindness”. I can’t think of a more important time to be kind to yourself.
So what can you do to shore up your mental health? Well, perhaps one of the practical things we can all do is to at least take responsibility for ourselves and our well-being. If you’re not feeling good, let someone know about it. Don’t suffer in silence. And in taking responsibility for ourselves. We will not only be helping keep ourselves safe, but we will be more able to help others if they are going through difficult times.
Here are a few positive ways to be kind to yourself and stay well.
Keep everything slow and gentle
It’s amazing how quickly this change of gear will change your mood. Eating and drinking mindfully – whatever you eat, whatever you drink (and you know the best is water with some drops of lemon juice and healthy fruit and vegetables), try to slow it all down. Savour the whole experience, the look of the food on the plate or pour the liquid into your glass. Note the smell, the taste, and the feeling as you begin to chew the food or swirl the beverage around in your mouth. Eat or drink small amounts at a time so that you can enjoy the whole process and really appreciate what you are consuming.
Soften the features of your face, and release tension in your jaw, your tongue, your eyes and the back of the neck. When anxiety grips us mentally, notice how it makes us tense up physically too. Where are you holding tension in your body? Find it, breathe slowly and deeply into that area and consciously release that tension as you breathe out.
Seek out the humour in your life
It’s important to find moments of release and fun. As laughter can be one of the best pick-me-ups, an antidote to the endless parade of scary news headlines. A good way to do this is to listen to one of the most profound thinkers of our time, who always seems able to see the funny side of the human condition. Listen to Ekhart Tolle – the audience is soon laughing.
You need to move as much as you can at this time to keep healthy. It’s not really about fast, energetic exercise. It’s simply about moving and not staying still in one position for hours at a time. There are many wonderful yoga classes with simple fluid movements. Yoga doesn’t need to be overly active at this time. It can be slow and quite basic, with the focus being on the correct alignment of the joints and limbs. There are many great online courses – one to try is the wonderfully relaxed style of ‘Yoga with Adriene’. She even has a beginner 30-day course for at-home practice and yoga for any kind of tension release you could imagine.
Have a calm and open mind.
At this time, be kind to yourself and feel free to switch off social media. Everyone is on a heightened level of alertness, not in a good way. There are arguments, disagreements, and very strong opinions, even anger being expressed on social media at this time – even between friends. It’s understandable but not helpful. All it does is raise everyone’s temperature and make us all feel down. So, give yourself a break – feel free to quietly block, unfriend, unfollow or mute notifications. It will lessen the load on your mind and shut out all the noise. So that you can think rationally and keep your own quiet views on things that are happening out in the world.
It really does just start with taking a few moments each day to focus on yourself. Be kind to yourself. You will be grateful that you did.
Hear Kay’s unique perspective on surviving times of crisis and isolation.