HOW TO BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Here are a few simple ways to show yourself some love and compassion in your daily life. Find out how to be kind to yourself so you can pay it forward to your family, friends and those who need it.
WHY KINDNESS MATTERS
I was having a conversation with my daughter this weekend. She was struggling with something at school, to do with friends and relationships, rather than schoolwork, and we were exploring ways for her to deal with the situation without causing tension or unease within her circle of friends.
It took me back to my own days at school, particularly as I headed into the emotional ups and downs of my teenage years! Perhaps you remember your own teenage years too?!
As we chatted, I explained to her that sometimes things don’t go as you’d like them to and that the world seems a very unfair and unkind place at times.
I want her to grow up being independent and capable but always considerate so I encouraged her to deal with her current problem in a kind, fair and compassionate way.
I feel that the world needs a little more love and kindness (yes, 2020, I’m directing that at you) and every one of us can play a part.
MAKING SPACE FOR KINDNESS
I’ve been reflecting on this conversation about kindness ever since, particularly as this month (November) is when we celebrate World Kindness Day.
We know it’s good to be kind to others and most of us try to be as kind as we can, whenever we can.
However, even though I value the concept of kindness, I think if I’m being totally honest, I’ve sometimes fallen short in the past in my haste to get things done.
Trying to achieve more, be more and do more or just having too much on my plate left too little space for anything else.
One of the many benefits of simplifying my own life was that I had more time for kindness.
And kindness repays kindness.
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” (Scott Adams)
PAYING KINDNESS FORWARD
Show yourself compassion, patience and love and you’re more able to pay it forward to those who need it. I know this is the case for me, but perhaps you feel that too?
In my own journey to a simpler life and creating time and space to slow down, I know I’m a kinder person, to others and to myself.
When you’re stressed out, in a funk and spinning all those plates, it’s not so easy to be a supportive, kind and compassionate parent, partner, friend and/or colleague. Slow things down, deal with that stress and feel a bit happier in yourself and I bet you’re more patient, calm and yes, kind.
So, in this little post, I’m encouraging you to be kind to yourself. Kindness has to come from somewhere and a very good place to start is within you, for you, by you.
Then, importantly, pay it forward to whoever needs that kindness next.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” (Amelia Earhart)
Whether it’s kindness to yourself or kindness to someone else, giving or receiving, compassion is an immeasurable human gift.
If you’re struggling to find kindness for yourself, here are some ideas on how to be kind to yourself…
7 WAYS TO BE KIND TO YOURSELF
1. Brain dump
When I’ve got a lot on my mind (both good and bad), I find it helpful to get everything down on paper. Once you can see it in front of you, you can prioritise and take action where you need to. Free up brain space, deal with the things that are worrying you, make plans for good times. Carrying too many thoughts in your mind leaves no space for other things. Read this post on how to brain-dump.
2. Take your foot off the pedal
Stop rushing, overstretching, achieving, pushing. Give yourself a little breather and listen to what your body needs. Is it sleep, a holiday, a hot chocolate, a cuddle with your dog, a giggle with the kids, a day in pyjamas? The world is unlikely to end just because you take it slow for a moment to recharge and reset but the world will certainly be a better place when you’re feeling ready to participate in it again! Read this post on why you need to slow down sometimes.
3. Switch things up
They say that a change is as good as a break. A change of pace and a change of scene do wonders for rejuvenating and giving us a fresh perspective. If you can’t get a holiday whenever you need it, what about going for a walk in a new place, going for a coffee somewhere you don’t normally stop at, change your hairstyle, swap your furniture around, get take-away. Step away from the norm and give something new a try.
4. Lose the guilt
Do you feel selfish or guilty if you do something for yourself? Think about it differently and see if you can replace the negativity of guilt with the positivity of compassion. How you think about things determines how you feel about them so tell yourself self-care is necessary, important, rightly yours and nothing to do with neglecting your responsibilities. You can look after yourself and still be a good parent/partner etc. In fact, you might be an even better one because of it! Read this post on 20 ways to look after yourself.
5. Create space
In most of my posts I find a way to bring decluttering and simplifying into the mix! Clearing your clutter brings instant space and calm, whether that’s in your home or in your schedule but that’s not the end of the story. In fact, it’s just the beginning. That space and calm gives you less stress, more energy and more time – more of which you can use for looking after yourself whenever and however you need it. Read here for more about decluttering your home.
6. Live and let live
I used to be a super-organised, perfectionist control-freak but, to be honest, it was exhausting. I now pick my battles and let things slide every now and then. I can support, guide and encourage others and change the things that are within my power to change, but I know when to switch off, say no or pull back. If something isn’t finished by the end of my day, then I’ll deal with it tomorrow. If the home needs a clean but my daughter wants to play a board game with me, then my daughter wins every time and the housework can wait. It’s about having defined boundaries, a clear vision of my priorities in life and wiggle room in case things don’t go quite as I’d like! Read this post on how to create boundaries.
7. Build awareness
None of the above could be done without a greater awareness of what I want from life and how to make the most of it. I don’t always get what I want (who does) but I certainly have more space, time and freedom to try to make things happen and enjoy them when they do. I know my goals, I listen to what my body needs. If my family needs me then I have time and energy for them, when my business needs me, I can be there for it too. A simpler life has given me a better balance and the balance can rise and fall depending on what needs me most. Read this post on why we need balance in life.
8. Do more of what lifts you up
Doing things that make you happy is possibly such an obvious way of being kind to yourself that you might not think to include it! I’m all for efficiency and productivity but we need laughter and fun in our lives too. Find things that make you smile or have you rolling around on the floor with laughter. Lean into those moments and do them as often as you can. If you’re struggling for ideas, check out this post on 20 ways to be happier.