27 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself (with journaling prompts!)

Woman hugging herself for - one of the ways to be kind to yourself

Are you looking for ways to be kind to yourself? If so, you’re not alone…

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We live ever more stressful and hyper-stimulated lives

Can you remember a time when everything seemed so much easier? You had fewer responsibilities, were happier, had more fun—and handled obstacles more easily?

From youth and into adulthood our responsibilities grow. And grow. The choices, decisions and commitments we make on a daily basis all increase naturally with age (although hopefully they decrease with retirement and as our children reach adulthood).

But what’s new in our modern age is that globalisation and technology have given us access to more ways to communicate/be communicated at than ever before in human history.

And the range of choices we need to make for everything from insurance to activities to transport, shampoo and salad dressings has exponentially increased.

So being kind to yourself is important!

Consider some of these ‘modern’ society stresses

  • We receive more communications in a week, than people 100 years ago used to get in their entire lifetime.
  • “News” consists of 95% ‘bad’ things—that we’re usually powerless to change.
  • Smartphone apps are designed to keep us using them at the expense of being in the ‘real’ world around us. They prod and poke us and keep us unhealthily online (just watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix).
  • We’re over-committed. There are so many fabulous opportunities, activities and entertainments that far exceed our ability to do them all!
  • We have to make hundreds of choices every. single. day. Some big, some tiny—yet it all takes up space and energy in our brain.
  • We’re all aware that no-one is doing enough to truly deal with the big problems our world faces whether war, our economies, the environment (a biggie!), healthcare or something else.

And that’s just some of the stresses that didn’t exist even a few decades ago.

And this is why you need ways to be kind to yourself

Our world is stressful. And it’s extremely challenging to manage the colossal amount of stimulation we receive. Then add on that we’re all so busy that we don’t have—or make—the time to stop, reflect and adjust to our needs.

So, wow, do you need ways to be kind to yourself!

Self-Kindness is a Stress Management Tool

Sadly, the first thing that goes flying out the window when we’re stressed is self-kindness—even though it’s what we need most.

Consider that when we’re unkind (whether to ourselves or others) this increases our stress. And then usually this lumps on shame, guilt and self-judgement: a recipe for comfort-eating, heated arguments, regrets and sleepless nights.

So, a quick question for you: What if, your default response when you notice you’re stressed was to be kind to yourself?

What if you slowed down, checked-in with yourself and asked What do I most want and need right now?

If you want ways to be kind to yourself, your feelings are the key

The first step to be kind to yourself is recognizing that you need it… See our 4 Step process and acronym for how to be kind to yourself here (make a PACT with you!).

Your feelings are what let you know that you need self-care and to be kind to yourself. And there is nothing and no-one else who can do it for you—because it’s entirely contextual! How tired you are, what else is going on in your life, what just happened—and what is happening tomorrow or next week ALL influence how we feel, what we need and the degree of self-kindness necessary. Consider that:

  • You could be pushing your mind or your body to new limits and LOVING every moment of it.
  • And you could be doing something super-easy and routine and have had ENOUGH.

Use your feelings to let you know that you need to be kind to yourself. And if you check-in with yourself—and listen—you already know what you need and ways to be kind to yourself you should action…

Learn more about what gets in the way of how to be kind to yourself here.

Here are 27 ways to be kind to yourself

  1. Remember that you are always allowed to change your mind! This isn’t about being flaky, it’s about prioritising you.
  2. Say “No”. Your feelings/gut/intuition will often give you a little nudge as to whether it’s a “yes” or a “no”. Start to pay attention…
  3. Give yourself a super-tasty, healthy treat (fresh strawberries or melon) rather than the tub of ice cream…
  4. Reach out to a friend or hug someone. If you can’t for some reason, find a private spot and give yourself a hug!
  5. Simply slow down. Whatever you’re doing, ease off a bit. Take your time.
  6. Have a relaxing bath. This one is both overused as a self-care solution—and yet is so powerful. Warmth, quiet, peace, nice scents.
  7. Create something. Anything.
  8. Go outside in nature. Go for walk and feel the sun or rain on your skin, listen to the birds, stare at the trees for 15 mins (or more!). Learn more about forest bathing here.
  9. Dance/Sing/Play/Laugh/Skip for a few minutes—or longer. Choose a favourite song, funny TV show or video clip you love.
  10. Give yourself 5 mins of (almost nothing). Meditate or stare out of the window. People watch, simply drink your cup of tea or stretch with a few yoga poses.
  11. Decide to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Remember, there is no failure, only learning…
  12. Do just one thing at a time
  13. Have a cosy nap. Set a timer if you want/need to. Grab a blanket, eye mask or close the curtains. Be warm. Rest.
  14. Refuse to compare yourself to others. There is only one you!
  15. Connect with your self/Disconnect from technology. Reduce time spent on the internet/devices, especially Social Media/YouTube etc.!
  16. Focus on excellence not perfection. Chasing perfection is tiring and it’s hard on everyone (not just you!). Remember it’s your flaws that make you lovable…
  17. Remember you are never (really) alone. Someone somewhere is experiencing similar issues to you—or has in the past. You can do this.
  18. Release “toxic” emotions eg. rage/resentment/guilt/shame. Punch a pillow, see a counsellor, journal, write an “unsent letter” (a letter you let everything out in, but then destroy before sending).
  19. Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with people who love you and want you to do well. Try the Spark Team Tool!
  20. Set a timer for 30-45 minutes and read a fun, favourite or inspirational book, in the middle of the day, just because—or because you’re feeling tired/stressed.
    • This is one of my ‘go-to’ ways to be kind to myself. And it never fails to relax and restore me to myself!
  21. Tidy, organize or finish something that’s been bothering you.
  22. If you’re feeling down, take a moment to make a list of what IS good in your life, what’s important and what’s right in your life… Or try this super-easy 5 things gratitude ritual.
  23. Give yourself the time to cook a meal you love. Delicious—preferably “healthy”—but the key is to enjoy the process as well as eating it!
  24. Live your values. Honor them.
  25. Believe that you deserve to enjoy life! You don’t have to earn rest, plan or fun-time…
  26. Do something that brings you joy. It might be a lot easier than you think! Try the What Makes My Heart Sing? Tool
  27. Get more sleep! Go to bed ‘early’. Create a sleep routine. What helps you get to sleep? Research, learn, customise for yourself—and prioritise it!


  Some homework questions to ponder or journal around:
  • What are your signs of stress? How do you know you need to be kind to yourself? And what do you usually do when you’re stressed or feeling overwhelmed?
  • So, which of the ways to be kind to yourself above did you like best?
  • What new ways to be kind to yourself can you now think of or imagine?
  • Make a list of 10 ways to be kind to yourself that you love—and think will help. (Put this list somewhere you’ll see it often!)
  • And lastly, what does your inner critic think about all this? And, if needed, what could you say to calm your critic, so that you can be kind to yourself when you need to?


There are endless ways to be kind to yourself—and what works best will be utterly unique to you!

Whether it’s stopping or letting go of something that is stressful and/or an act of nurture like taking a nap, bath, walk, stretch, break, early night, ‘healthy’ meal, ‘unhealthy’ treat or something else—self-kindness is simply giving yourself whatever you truly need.

We’re all so caught up in time poverty, and there never seems to be enough time to do everything we want and need to do. But:

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. Sydney J. Harris

I love this strange, seemingly contradictory quote, and remind myself of it whenever a part of me resists taking a break.

Because (as a previous counsellor had to keep reminding me), there is always enough time to do what is MOST important. And that might just be taking care of YOU…

Like this article with lots of ways to be kind to yourself? Try:

Change the world. Start with you!

Comment below and share your favourite ways to be kind to yourself!

Image of Woman hugging herself by Kraken Images


  1. Virginia Reeves

    Emma-Louise – such good reminders. Fortunately, I practice many of the tips. There are a few I haven’t tried and will now do so. Kindness to ourselves is so important. If we aren’t ‘filling our cup’ it’s harder to do so for others.

    • Emma-Louise Elsey

      Virginia, so very true—we really must take good care of ourselves! Glad you got a couple of new ideas of ways to be kind to yourself from this article!

      Emma-Louise x


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