Typically, when we think of kindness… we associate that with something outside of ourselves: how we can be kind to others, to our furry friends, to our world. But the truth is, kindness starts with YOU, it starts with being kind to ourselves first and foremost and so today, we’re looking at why it’s important to be kind to yourself and 10 easy-peasy ways you can do so.
#1 – TAKE TIME OUT
Breathe. Stop. Take 5. Whichever way you want to spin it, whatever you want to call it, the message is the same. Taking time out is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. We are all very busy, let’s be honest. And sometimes we get swept up in the notion that ‘busyness’ is a direct correlation to success. However, it’s actually quite the opposite and we need time out, to quiet the mind, be still, rest, relax, rejuvenate and sit in the stillness – it’s amazing how creating space for you can not only end up allowing you to be more productive, but, it is often in those moments of stillness when you allow yourself time and space to just ‘be’ that you come up with ideas, thoughts, process information etc…. Time out looks different for each of us, have a think about what your ideal time out situation looks like for you… and work towards making that happen as often as you can.
#2 – INDULGE IN SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Indulge in whatever it is that lights you up, fills you with joy, makes your heart sing… you catch my drift, something you love love loveeee to do. Seriously, you have full reign to go nuts. Whatever it is that you love – do it, see it, eat it, experience it… it’s important to do these things that light the fire in your belly, fill you with joy and make you feel like you’re living your best life. I think sometimes it’s so easy to feel guilty when you take time out for you, but the truth is, it is an absolute necessary and allows us to fill up our own self love cup to then be physically and mentally primed to pour out love and kindness to others.
#3 – SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO LIFT YOU HIGHER
You know those magic humans I’m talking about, the ones that have that je ne sais quoi quality. The ones that ooze sunshine, beautiful energy and have hearts of gold. The ones with no malice, no agenda, no conditions… just love and friendship. Find those people (trust me, I know from experience – they exist!!) and surround yourself with them. You need people in your life that are going to lift you higher, support you, inspire you, encourage you, cheer you on, celebrate your wins and commiserate with your losses – whilst encouraging you to stand back up. And a piece of advice, these magical unicorns are rare, but when you find them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived life without them.
#4 – WATCH YOUR ALL-TIME-FAVORITE-FEEL-GOOD-MOVIE
We all have them. No need to be embarrassed. This is a safe space, there’s no judgment here – I mean, full disclosure, I love (I mean LOVE) Lionel Richie and 80’s love ballads, and you know my all-time fave feel good films are rom-coms and classic love stories. Enter: My Best Friends Wedding, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Love Actually… you catch my drift. So whatever it is that tickles your fancy; a rom com, a thriller, a good drama or a comedy that has your side splittings… get it on the tv, get your favorite movie snack ready, get your feet up and just enjoy. It’s amazing what it can do for your mood and state of mind… same goes for listening to your favorite song(s)…. two words: GAME CHANGER.
#5 – DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Being kind to yourself involves nourishing and nurturing your body, we are only given one and it’s our job to look after it in order to thrive. What can you do today for your physical health? Give yourself little mini challenges… aka ‘today I’m going to eat an extra serving of vegetables’, ‘I’m going to drink 8 glasses of water ever day’, ‘today I’m going to walk in my lunch break’, ‘I’m committing to making 4 meals at home this week’… you catch my drift! Your body knows what you need… so tune in and learn to listen. Drink plenty of water, eat good food, treat yourself in moderation, move your body, quiet your mind and don’t forget to get plenty of sleep.
#6 – DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
It all starts in your mind. And therefore it’s important to do things to support your mental wellbeing, let’s be honest – it’s not just important, it. is. crucial. because your mental health is priority. There are so many things that you can do to support your mental health and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Trust me, I was scared of meditation for years because ‘I don’t know how to do it’… but meditate, is all about being present. As Eckhart Tolle says, ‘one conscious breath in and out, is a mediation’. Once conscious breath, girl – you got this. In fact, I know you’ve got this so much that I challenge you to up it to 10 conscious breaths… and see how good you feel after. **And by breaths, we’re talking about those deep inhalations, the ones that make your belly bloat out like a balloon.
#7 – BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR INNER DIALOGUE
Okay, okay… you didn’t think this was gonna be all fun and games, did you?! Alas, self kindness also requires a little work. It’s not all binge-watching-netflix-and-eating-icecream ok… (but I give you full permission to totally make that part of it). However, a huggggeeeeeeee (I’m talking huge as in ‘big. huge’, Pretty-Woman-style-circa-1990) part of self kindness is what goes on, on the inside. You know – that voice, we allllll have her and sometimes she’s a flat out horrible bitch. But, the good news is, we don’t have to listen to her and we can slowly… but surely… change the dialogue she feeds us. Try it on for size, it’s bloody hard (but everything worth it always is, right?!) ….. catch yourself out and pull the plug on that self deprecating lingo that has become the basis of your inner-dialogue-vocabulary.
#8 – CARVE OUT TIME FOR PLAY
Remember being a kid, when you didn’t have a worry in the world (unless you were an anxious child like me when you were always paddling like crazy under the surface to try and keep your head above water but putting on a brave face that everything was find and dandy, but that’s for another day) and your biggest decision was whether to choose chocolate sauce or sprinkles on your ice-cream. Well, there’s a reason why kids are so care free – forget about the lack of knowledge, real world experience and being kept from what’s really going on in the world) but a big part of it is PLAY. Kids, play. Period. It’s all they do. They let their imaginations run wild, they are present in the moment and they just take the moment for what it is, when they’re having fun – they’re having fun. This is something us adults need to incorporate back into our lives too. When we’re watching a movie, listening to music, cooking a meal, having a bath, putting a face mask on etc… we need to just be, right there in that moment, and enjoy what we’re doing rather than thinking about the 10,000 other things we need to be doing. Carve out time to stop, be in the moment and enjoy it. Do fun things, allow yourself to make space and time for things that give you that same feeling you had as a kid.
#9 – MOVE YOUR BODY
I know that a lot of people don’t associate ‘exercise’ with ‘self kindness’ but hear a sister out! Exercising releases endorphins. Fact. Exercise in fact makes you feel less tired. Fact. Exercise makes you feel good about yourself. Fact. The writing’s on the wall babe, get that body moving. It’s amazing what an impact it can have on your wellbeing. It doesn’t have to cost money, it doesn’t have to involve fancy work-out gear, feeling self conscious in a gym or spending money on equipment. It can be whatever works for you. Take a yoga or pilates class, walk in nature, take a stroll by the ocean (you’re getting two in one here FYI – I can vouch from experience that walking by the ocean is so calming and almost meditative), run off the beaten track, walk around the block, workout with a friend, set up a circuit in your back yard (or living room). There are literally no excuses, exercise can be anything from low intensity to high intensity, find something that you love, find what works for your body and motivation and get moving.
#10 – TREAT YO SELF
Seriously, you deserve it. And we all deserve a lil treat from time to time, everything in moderation hey. Reward yourself for whatever it may be that you have nailed this week. So go on.. have that slice of cake, eat that pint of ice-cream, treat yourself to a shopping spree, go and catch a chick flick and eat a whole box of m and m’s to yourself, indulge in a day spa, have a massage, facial or some other luxe treatment… whatever it is that floats your boat… There’s nothing more to say other than GO. FOR. IT. no guilt attached, feel good and know that you deserve it.
**Self Kindness Challenge: See how many self kindness acts from this list of 10 you can tick off in the next week!