Be your own Bestie!

Be your own Bestie! By Selina Slater

While we’re thinking of giving over the Christmas and New Year period, have a think about giving to yourself and encouraging others to do the same.

One of the things we like to encourage the young people we work with to do – is to be their own best friend.  This is a gift we could all give ourselves this Christmas.  To be kind to ourselves and care for ourselves in the same way we would our best friend.  To give ourselves opportunities to talk and be heard, to be hugged and cared for, to enjoy some treats and chill time.

Looking after ourselves and not relying on others to do it is so important, it improves our wellbeing and increases our resilience and self esteem. Thinking around being our own best friend can help in other ways too.  When we’re talking to young people who are asking for advice, we often ask them to try and think of what they would say to their best friend if it were them in the same situation and think about what they might suggest they do and even get them thinking about what strengths they might point out in that person? It’s amazing how this simple exercise can help them find the answers they’re looking for or work out how they really feel.

It’s also important that we protect ourselves in the same way we would a friend, talking about our feelings is a BRAVE and important thing to do. We must choose the people we confide in wisely making sure it is someone we can TRUST, someone who is KIND and someone who is good at LISTENING.

Caring for ourselves means taking time to relax too, a lot of us aren’t good at this!  A top tip is to spend some time thinking about ways we can relax and have a list of things you can do for the times we need to chill.  Switching off the tech and social media is a very good way to switch off the thinking – it can take some will power and persuasion to stay away from that phone for a while but the benefits are fantastic.

And finally, let’s big ourselves up when it’s deserved and stop being so hard on ourselves.  As Mentors we’re often pointing out the positives and saying “I hope you’re proud of yourself” or “give yourself a pat on the back”.  Equally we’re there to combat the negatives in other ways by reminding our young people to not be so hard on themselves and give themselves a break when they get it wrong.

These simple truths can be applied to the lives of young people and adults alike.  We can challenge ourselves to be our own Bestie or our friends, our children, our colleagues.

Adapted from the writing of Selina Slater, PHASE Director & Mentor