Just ‘love yourself’ is something we hear all over the place today. To be honest the phrase self-love is a bit over used and fluffy in my opinion. However, even I can’t deny it that Self-love practices really, truly do help if you have anxiety, mental health challenges or burnout.
I just gave myself five days of full immersion self-love as a mental health break and I feel soo much better now. (Of course being me it was Harry Potter themed!!)
Now I know if you have anxiety you already know this, for those that don’t, when it comes to anxiety, alot of us have it beause of low or even non exsistant self-esteem. Studies have begun to prove that low self-esteem and anxiety are linked. They kind of overlap. And there are also studies out there showing that self-love is key for mental health.
Ergo Self-love can help with your self-esteem based anxiety. And social anxiety. As alot of social anxiety is self-esteem based.
When we have anxiety, especially self-esteem based anxiety we indulge in a lot of negative self talk, which increases our anxiety. Some theories out there suggest this is because our inner child feels abandoned and judged by their primary adult (ergo you). Now I am not sure if this is true. It makes a lot of sense to me, but that is becuase working with my inner child has done wonders for my self-confidence.
However, self abandonment is part of anxiety. We allow the fears to take over and we forget to do the things that reassure us and comfort us amidst the panic. By choosing ourselves and regulary practicing self-love caring for ourselves becomes a habit. And when you are admidst the anxiety merry-go-round caring and security is something you really, really need.
Of course it also needs to be simple, easy to fit into a busy day and manageable at our lowest points.
Here are my favourite 3 self-love practices that I have found the most helpful for anxiety. Try them out and let me know how they help you !
love yourself as you would someone else
It’s so much easier to love someone else than ourselves right? So why not use that as a guide to love yourself? On a bad day think of the person whom you love the most, and ask yourself, “What would you do for that person on a bad day?” and then do that thing for yourself. Another way is to love yourself the way you would love your child. Again it’s a super easy way of practicing self-love and you can find out more about it that here.
Love your flaws
Perfectionism is the bane of exsistance if you have anxiety. The paradox is that we all want to be perfect and we are not designed to be perfect. We are designed to be unique and our flaws make us unique. So you gotta love your flaws and your quirks. If you love them other people will too. The best way to do this is to find the benefit of that one thing you have trouble accepting. The thing you see as a flaw. There is always a benefit, you just have to look for it. Doing this will change your perception to see that it’s not so bad after all.
There are two things you need to protect yourself from if you have anxiety. Toxic or draining people and yourself.
So let’s take the others first, because tbh that is easiest. Identify the people that make you feel drained or are downright toxic for you. Cut out who you can and limit your time with those that you can’t completly cut out of your life. I find that if I have to go to a meeting with someoneI find toxic preplanning my boundaries, knowing what I am willing to take and what I will put a boundary up for helps me feel safe. Even to the point of planning what I will say when they trigger something. It’s like taking a shield with me, rather than feeling open and vunerable.
Now let’s look at yourself. We forget ourselves way to much. When I am in a bad space I do things like forgetting to eat or forgetting to put on a jumper when I am cold. Firstly again you need to identify the ways in which you abandon yourself and then pre-prepare a strategy. So with the forgetting to eat I now have an agreement with Mr T that he tells me when it’s lunch and I have easy things in the fridge for making food. (Anxiety does shut down the digestive system a little bit so easy food is super important to have to hand). Do a bit of brainstorming on simple, easy to put in place strategies to help you not abandon yourself. And yes if you need some help it is okay to ask someone to help you put it into action.
Through my struggles with my anxiety and mental health, I have learned that I am an important ally for myself. Infact often the most important ally for myself. By focusing on shifting the thoughts of self-doubt to self-love, you can become the most valuable person in the fight for your own mental health.
you don't have to let anxiety control your life...
If you want more tools for living with anxiety check out my E-book Take Back Control – Living with Anxiety. It’s full of tools that have helped me that I know can help you.