selflove

Notes on being kind to yourself

We’ve heard it all before. “Speak to yourself the way you’d speak to a friend”. “Treat yourself the same way you treat the people you love.” But in reality, it’s much harder to be kind to yourself than the quotes on Pinterest would have you believe. One thing that makes it especially difficult is that we often don’t even realise just how detrimental our negative thought patterns are. We get so used to negative thoughts that we are unable to recognise when we’re self-sabotaging or projecting. Over the past few months (and years), I’ve slowly come to realise that there is immense value in making a conscious effort to be kind to myself. Here’s what I’ve learnt.

  • I tend to make myself miserable. I recently watched a TEDtalk that talked about how we take things personally because we make everything about ourselves. We assume that everyone’s seemingly negative responses to us are also about us. I can relate to this deeply. As someone who struggles with anxiety and is an over-thinker of note (a simply delightful combination as I’m sure you can imagine), I tend to overanalyse everything. Honestly, it’s exhausting. The only thing I gain from it is, well, nothing. If a friend takes longer than usual to reply to my text, or they seem even a little “off”, I’m sent into a spiral of thoughts, thinking about everything I could’ve done to make them mad at me. I’ve had to train myself that not everything is about me. People can have off-days, and it can have absolutely nothing to do with me. In fact most of the time, it’s not about me. So something I’ve been working on is making an effort to flip my negative thoughts on their head. Instead of telling myself that they’re mad with me, or don’t like me or I’ve done something wrong, I’ve tried to replace it with “maybe they’re just busy or tired or stressed”.  And that’s okay. Just like I can’t give everyone else my energy and attention all the time, I can’t expect other people to give me all of theirs all the time either. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it has been an incredibly necessary one.
  • I always assume that people don’t like me. There is literally no basis for these thought patterns , except for my own stubborn insecurities. Sometimes, I will spend days thinking that everyone is judging me and thinking bad things about me. I’ve come to learn that this is just my own insecurity that I project onto others. Something I’m learning to do, is to believe the things that people tell me. Instead of thinking that everyone secretly hates me, I’m learning to replace these negative thoughts and believe it when people tell me that they love me or value our friendship or think I’m pretty. It is so much more peaceful and gratifying to just accept compliments and believe them, instead of assuming that people think the worst of me. It’s freeing and leaves room in my brain for much happier thoughts.
  • It’s okay to fail. I hold myself to impossibly high standards and I’m sure most of us do. But sometimes, what we may perceive as a strong work ethic or ambitious goals, are just eating us alive and making everything we achieve feels subpar. Allow yourself to get things wrong. Whenever I get annoyed at myself for getting something wrong, I think about how quickly I would get bored if I was just getting everything right. It may seem obvious, but making a conscious mindset shift from seeing failure as a bad thing to seeing it as a opportunity for growth and learning to laugh it off and then work harder to get better has made it so much more rewarding when I eventually do get it right.
  • Taking time off does not equate to laziness. We live in a society that glorifies the workaholic mentality. In reality, it’s unsustainable, unhealthy and takes the pleasure out of everything. It’s okay to enjoy your work. It doesn’t mean you’re working any less hard. Often, I’ve confused enjoyment with laziness. I still struggle to take a break and switch off from my academic work, but I’m starting to see that when I do, it allows me to perform at a higher level when I am working. You don’t need to earn your rest. You deserve it anyway.
  • Everyone won’t like you.  It can be easy to spend all your time focusing on people who aren’t your biggest fan and then forget about the hundred others you love you. I’ve often subjected myself to a fair share of people-pleasing to desperately try and make everyone like me. It’s not worth the emotional energy. I’ve made peace with the fact that I simply cannot be loved by every single person I cross paths with and that’s okay.

These are some hard lessons I’ve had to learn and I still have a long way to go. I have a long list of things I still need to work on and through. But being just a little kinder to myself has already allowed me so much more room for positive friendships, taking time for myself and has even motivated me to work harder, for me. It’s a journey and everyone’s looks slightly different. I hope you will join me in being kinder to yourself.

Nabeela x

On Body-Positivity / Self-Acceptance

Today I’m going to sharing some thoughts about a topic that is really important to me, and affects everyone. Arguably one of the biggest issues that young and old people alike in today’s world, is low self-esteem. With a constant slew of photo-shopped, airbrushed and perfected people in the media being pushed down our throats on a daily basis, it comes at no surprise. Comparing ourselves to a photograph that a professional has spent hours editing and perfecting can be pretty awful. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the sinking feeling of dissatisfaction in ourselves at some point. Firstly, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid, and you’re not being silly. Next, I’m hear to hopefully teach you some things (with some help of wise and insightful people) that’ll hopefully set you on a path of self-acceptance.

Accepting your body with all its flaws, and appreciating everything it does for you can lead you to feel so much more confident in your own skin and ultimately bring you more happiness. Also, remember that you are not defined by the way you look.  Appearance isn’t everything. After all, its pretty hard to feel bad about your body once you start thinking about the billions of cells and micro-organisms whose only care and purpose is keeping you alive and healthy.

Now, I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, and body-positivity is definitely something I still struggle with, but I’m learning and slowly making progress, day by day. Patience, dear hearts.

I asked some of my favourite advocates of body-positivity and self-acceptance, to share some advice on becoming more body-positive…

Cari Turner, Get Well Club

“My first tip when it comes to embracing your body and becoming more body positive in general is to stop playing the comparison game. This can be extremely tough as we’re bombarded with images of other people on social media who appear to always look amazing and have everything in their lives sorted out. But this isn’t true – nobody is perfect and what you’re seeing is a carefully curated photo or caption and not the complete reality of that person’s life. So if need be, unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or that make you want to compare yourself.

Only follow people that inspire, encourage and uplift you. In real life, whenever you feel the need to compare yourself or your body to someone else, remember that you were created to be unique and that there is beauty in diversity. Also, remind yourself of all the amazing things that you can do, like a handstand or a dance or that your body keeps you alive and healthy!

Another tip that I have for embracing your body is that you need to remember that it is a journey. You can’t just decide to be body positive one day and then you’re completely happy with your body for the rest of your life. There will be days when you feel terrible about yourself and others when you’ll feel amazing about your body. It is about making daily (sometimes hourly) choices to accept your body as it is in that moment. It is about remembering all the good things your body helps you to do. It is about reminding yourself that your jiggly arms help you to hug your loved ones or that your freckles are little memories of fun times you’ve had in the sun. It is about embracing your flaws and loving yourself even more because of them.”  – @getwellclub 

Kirsten Kadé, Taste and See

“One of my favourite quotes on this topic is by the lovely Kite sisters, or Beauty Redefined (https://beautyredefined.org): “Having positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it is knowing that your body is good regardless of how it looks. It isn’t about thinking you are beautiful, it is knowing you are more than beautiful. It is understanding that your body is an instrument for your use, not an ornament to be admired”

This quote really sums up what learning to like your body, no matter it’s shape or size, is about. When we start to see our worth in more than our clothing size or weight on the scale, we are able to live our lives to the fullest!

 As a nutritionist-to-be, one of my interests is to help others heal their relationship with food. The framework of Intuitive Eating is incredibly useful in healing your relationship with food – so one of my biggest tips is to buy the book, start reading blogposts, following people, and listening to podcasts on this topic. And explore developing a healthy, non-restrictive approach to food.”  – @tasteandseeblog

There is so much learning to be done, and such a long way to go, but I really hope you have found some value in this. If you are truly happy within yourself, very little will get you down. Keep spreading love.

I’ve created this little print-out that you can stick on your wall, just as a tangible reminder.

Nabeela x

{A special thank you to Cari and Kirsten for sharing your wisdom with us}

Self-Care / Conscious Living

investSelf-care is an integral part of living a more intentional life. Its not all about eating chocolate cake or spending a small fortune at the spa (although those things can be a lovely treat too). Its about carving out time once a day, or once a week to care for yourself – its important to keep your well-being on track. Its easy to slip into a daily routine of chaos with little room for unwinding. Going to bed late, waking up early, eating food that doesn’t nourish us and not resting and exercising enough can leave us feeling exhausted, sort of like a bicycle tyre with a slow puncture. At some point, we need to wake up, and realize that if we don’t take some time to patch it up, we’ll be left feeling completely deflated.

Having some time each day or even just once a week to practice self-care isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated or expensive. Just something that gives you a little lift. Its an intentional action of caring for yourself. Here are a few of my favourite ways to practice self-care.

  • Listen to your body. Some days, you’ll be full of energy. Other days, not so much. I find that on days when I feel completely fatigued, doing a high intensity workout leaves me feeling dizzy and ill rather than refreshed and happy. On those days, rather do some stretching and low intensity exercising. And remember, rest days are just as important.
  • Sleep in. No amount of exercise and healthy eating can replace the healing, restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it, and have a sleep-in day when you get the chance. Try switching your phone off before bed too. You’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel in the morning.
  • Try a face mask. Or a foot soak. Anything you enjoy that gives you some zen time to just breathe and let your sole task (no pun intended) be relaxing.
  • Quiet time. Relating back to the previous point, introvert or not, anyone can benefit from a little quiet time spent alone reading, meditating, painting or even sipping some tea, with a lovely candle lit. Heard of hygge? Its a vibe.
  • Digital Detox. Its good for your eyes, and your soul. Try it and see how free you’ll feel.

I hope you take some time this year to prioritize your well-being and practice some self-care. And as a little visual reminder, I’ve created art print that you can download and print out for your wall, or set as your phone lockscreen.

Nabeela x

 

PS: Curious about minimalism, self-care and slow, intentional living? Here are some pieces I’ve written on these topics:

Lately 04 / Minimalism

Simple

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

Monotasking 

Zen / Morning Rituals

Offline

5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

 

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Being as busy as we are, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking some time in the day to relax and unwind. It’s safe to say that senior high doesn’t leave me much time to myself, so I’ve made a conscious choice to take some time each day for relaxing and down-timing. 

My preferred time to unwind is just before bed. It’s the time I feel most calm (probably because I’m so tired) and I know that everything important is done, so I don’t feel as if I’m wasting time either. It also helps me to settle down a bit quicker once I get into bed. 

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These intentional rituals have become my favourite part of the day. I savour this time to myself and look forward to it each day. 

Soothing facial ritual 

I use a minimal amount of all-natural products on my face. I love putting lovely-smelling goodies on my face. I find the natural scents and fragrances of my products relaxing and calming. I love going to bed with my skin feeling soft and squeaky-clean. 

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Balancing Cleansing Balm / Purifying Treatment Oil / The Everyday Cream

Reflective/ relaxing time

I like to keep my room airy on hot summer nights by leaving the windows wide open until just before I hit the pillow. I have an overactive mind, so I keep a journal where I can write my thoughts and whatever is taking up space in my brain. I also take some time for stretching (I spend quite a bit of time playing school sports so my muscles are often tired) and prayers. 

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Reading 

I adore reading. I find it relaxing and  entertaining, so it’s the perfect end to any day for me. Once in bed I like to read for a while until I’m sleepy. 

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I keep my room completely dark at night as I find I sleep best like this. Try out a couple of rituals until you find what works best for you. It can be so satisfying to know that you have a few peaceful rituals to engage in every evening before bed. 

I find that I feel calmer and more at peace before bed rather than frazzled and frantic. 

Self-care is absolutely essential to our well-being. Let’s make it our priority. 

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Nabeela x

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