How to show up for yourself
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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How to show up for yourself

Lauren Frewin-Smith January 27, 2022

I first encountered the term ‘showing up for yourself’ when scrolling through TikTok. Showing up for yourself essentially means supporting yourself, and giving yourself the same respect as you would want your friends to receive. Self-love in other words.

After the new year begins, new year’s resolutions start rolling in about loving oneself and being kind. But many don’t know how to go about this consistently or even where to start. I started this trend at the beginning of January. Not as a new year’s resolution (as it might seem) but because I got fed up with negative thinking while university work piled up in the background. My negative attitude began to affect not only my mental well-being but all other parts of my life.

Over the last month, I feel that I have found a way to master this idea, and I think it’s going well. So, let me show you the ropes.

Three Goals

The first step I took in ‘showing up for myself’ was creating three goals on my to-do list to complete a day. These goals weren’t all chores and things I had to get done, but they involved three different types of purposes. Every morning, I would pick one goal to be productive, one for my well-being and one purely for pleasure. This has meant that not only do I get something productive done a day, but also that my life doesn’t revolve around deadlines and chores. Everyone knows that as soon as your life is based on completing deadlines and tasks, it gets a bit miserable and monotonous.

So, to counteract this I started to create a work/ life balance. This seems easier said than done. But by giving myself small tasks a day, I was able to complete them easily, slowly urging myself into a subconscious pattern in my day-to-day life. Instead of overwhelming myself with the usual self-love techniques such as hours of yoga or long, indulgent bubble baths. It has meant that it seemed so much easier to incorporate both fun and work into my life. For example, while writing endless essays through January my three goals would usually look like this:

  1. Write 1,000 words
  2. Go outside
  3. Read a novel

Yes…you read correctly. Go outside. Not restricting myself to a certain outdoor activity or even a certain novel meant I felt these fun things were less of a chore, and genuinely things there to keep me happy. The whole aim to put these simple things on my to-do list is to slowly encourage myself to pick up these habits without even thinking about it. One day, in theory, I will naturally do one thing productive, one thing for my well-being and one thing purely for me without having to be encouraged to do so. It is a simple way to start encrypting natural and healthy behaviour into your daily life.


Incorporating a to-do list of everyday tasks is great to start in ‘showing up for yourself’. But it is important to also acknowledge how simple everyday attitudes and behaviours, in general, affect your life. I suggest creating a list of everyday promises that you hope to do no matter what your to-do list states. For me, this involves:

  • Have a clean bedroom 
  • Make my bed
  • Make sure to eat three meals a day 
  • Be kind to myself 

This list should be composed of things you would want for your best friend. If you want your best friends to have a clean, tidy happy life, you should want it for yourself too. I have written up these items and stuck them on my wall as a constant reminder of the expectations I have for myself. If I’m ever feeling anxious or out of control, I will take a look, make sure I have kept to it and then go from there. It is a simple yet effective way to ground yourself amid a very busy life. These may not always happen every day. We are all human and there will be times that your room will become a mess. But these reminders aim to do just that. To remind you to look after yourself the same as you would for others.


One of the most cliched and overused terms is ‘be positive’. You see it on signs in your aunt’s house, on old Tumblr posts from 2012 and all you get told throughout education is to stay positive and everything will be ok. The idea of being positive is shoved down students’ throats so much it pretty much becomes redundant to them. This is often because there is no explanation behind it, and it is very generalised advice. 

I have decided that part of showing up for myself is also talking to myself as I would others. Would I turn to my friend and say: ‘You are stupid and have no hope’. No I wouldn’t (in theory). So why have I suddenly excused this language when talking to myself? It gets to the point where you are so negative about every aspect of your life that it starts eating away at your mental health. I decided enough was enough and I would be kinder to myself.

This doesn’t mean I encourage toxic positivity. Things do suck sometimes. And it is fine to experience those negative emotions when they are called for. It’s important to be able to feel what you’re feeling. But, what I do encourage, is not letting a bad attitude overwhelm your mental state to the point you can’t see past the fog. Just try talking to yourself more kindly, and you will start to see a large difference very quickly. It lightens a heavy load.

Putting Into Practice

I have found all these tasks quite easy to incorporate into my daily life and follow with success. I find there are many ways to get healthier overall that are constantly suggested. Whether it be yoga, running or meditation; they always seem quite intense to me. Most techniques to gain better wellbeing seem to require hours of work and a strict schedule to pay off which, in a sense, ruins the point of implementing these things into your life. You want to eliminate stress and be healthier, not cause it.

The ability to focus on small things every day, and reap each small reward, whether it be ticking off one of my goals on the to-do list, or ensuring my bedroom is kept tidy, has made me feel more in control of my intensely busy life. Small changes are underestimated but often result in the biggest change.

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Hi! I’m Lauren; a third-year Geography student from the University of Birmingham. I work as a presenter and a photographer with a big passion for all things creative. I have a newly found love of books and can talk for England without taking a single breath.