Be Kind to Yourself

Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of anxiety and dental procedures.

Kindness, when showing it to ourselves, can be difficult. It can be even more difficult if, like me, you struggle with chronic health issues, whether mental or physical. 

This year, on top of my many health issues, I’ve undergone many dental procedures (let this be your reminder to see your dentist!). I’ve had several tooth extractions and a root canal so far. Both require at least a few days of recovery and with extractions, these can take at least a week. I know this, and you might know this, but by day two following these procedures, I was growing tired with not feeling better. I was angry at myself that I wasn’t recovering fast enough. 

Objectively speaking, this might not make a lot of sense. And saying it even doesn’t make a lot of logical sense to me. However, it’s something that I am familiar with when struggling with both my mental and physical health. I want to be better fast, however, as you know, healing takes time. 

Rushing the process does not work. Using my tooth extraction as an example, you can’t expect this to heal overnight. Your body physically cannot do that. It’s the same with our mental health. You might want to get better and have your struggles behind you tomorrow, but unfortunately, it takes time. But it is so worth the journey.  

Instead of punishing yourself for being unwell or in need of support, think of yourself as you would a loved one. If they were in pain, you might recommend a painkiller, or simply rest. If they were anxious, you might suggest they talk to a professional or slow down and, again, rest. Think about how you would help a loved one. You are not weak for needing time to rest and heal. You are not weak for needing help. 

Recovery isn’t a linear journey. There are some great steps forward, and sometimes some steps back. However, the steps back don’t mean you’re failing. They mean you’re healing. They can help you recognise just how far you have come to where you are now. How might you have dealt with this a week ago? A month ago? A year ago? You are here now, that is because of you and your strength. 

Stop being hard on yourself. You are doing just fine. Be kind to yourself and learn to rest when you need to. Learn to reach out when you need to. Practise self-care. Do something kind for yourself.


Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!

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