For many years I was anything but my own best friend. I neglected, badgered, criticised and overindulged myself. It was much easier to be nicer and kinder to my friends than it was to myself.
Maturity and the experience of devastating loss, has taught me much. I now know that in grief, or in fact anytime in life, I am the only one who can look after me. Me, myself and I. Many times, I didn’t think I had time for me. I thought my needs weren’t as important as others in my life. I was too busy giving out to my family or work or whatever other demands I thought I had. Sometimes I expected others to give to me. I wanted them to fix me up, solve my problems and make me whole again.
I now know that demands on my time and energy will always be there. I now know that people will come and go from my life. Some will support, some won’t be able to or choose not to. I now know that some experiences and events in my life will change me forever. I now know that out of it all I remain a constant presence, in the midst of it all. I now know that self-compassion is the greatest gift I can give myself, at any time in my life, but especially when I am grieving. I also know that only I can make myself a priority in my life. When I hear myself saying, “I can’t”, I now think, “Well how can I?” If it’s important to me, I will find a way. I hope you can find a way to be your greatest supporter.
Here is a list of 30 practical ideas you can use to kick start your own “How to be my own best friend” list:
- Give yourself 15 minutes of your time to do with what you will each and every day.
- Spend time in nature at least twice a week.
- Buy a treat for you – something that you love to eat or drink.
- Get some earphones and listen to mellow music in bed – stop the flashbacks and negative speak for a moment.
- Hug someone you love.
- Give yourself permission to smile or laugh without feeling guilty.
- Think of yourself as a treasured friend, remember how you speak/act with him/her – be the same with yourself.
- Tell yourself every single day “I am the strength that I need” – write it out if you need to.
- Remove yourself from your pain and arrange to go to the movies with a friend – choose one that’s not too emotive.
- Accept yourself right now, you are doing the very best that you can – self compassion rules!
- Rest frequently…grief and stress are exhausting.
- Make a list of 6 things you enjoy (or used to) – make one of them part of your daily routine.
- Buy some bath salts, light a candle and slip into a relaxing bath.
- Go for a walk, run, ride or swim twice a week.
- Take yourself out to your favourite cafe once a week.
- Read something that gives you strength or inspiration each day.
- Take time off work if you need to (there will be many ways you can do this if you choose).
- Reach out for help – it shows just how strong you are.
- Listen to your heart; it knows the way if you trust and listen.
- Grieve in your own way and in your own time.
- Go for a picnic.
- Laugh with a child.
- Re-read a favourite book.
- Put on some music that makes you want to move. Then move.
- Phone a friend.
- Accept offers of help. Everyone needs a support crew.
- Use your sense of smell, sound and touch around your home. Try burning fragrant candles in the lounge and bedroom. Put uplifting wallpaper on your phone or computer. Put a textured and soft throw rug on your loung and snuggle.
- Look after your physical health. It is something we often take for granted. Consider vitamin supplements as stress can adversely affect your immune system.
- Avoid potentially stressful situations. Say No. It is one of your “Get out of jail free” cards.
- Fill yourself up with “good” stuff most of all. Stop watching the news for one week if you find it too depressing.