Kindness

‘the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’

‘a kind act.’

This week is mental health awareness week and the focus is on kindness, and what better topic of discussion for this weeks blog post.

In keeping with how I like to write I will start with questions and then attempt to share some of my thoughts:
When you think of kindness where does your mind go? 
What does kindness mean to you? 
How do you practice kindness?

My perception of kindness is that our association with the word is often linked towards the kindness that we show towards others. With its very description having connotations of an outward emotion rather than something that is inwardly practiced. 

This is what I want to touch on: self kindness. 

I am aware that often (apologies for the sweeping generalisation here) it is easier to show others kindness than it is to be kind to ourselves. Self kindness often requires a certain level of introspection that maybe, often, we aren’t willing or able to give.
This thought provides a starting point to delve deeper into establishing daily methods of implementing self kindness.

Start by being kind to yourself .. 

Be your own friend, your own motivator, your own care taker. Act kindly towards yourself so that you know kindness and can act with kindness towards others of your choosing. Practice kindness towards yourself daily, first and foremost because you deserve it. Be intrinsically motivated for your own happiness and living a life in which you thrive.

Self Kindness Checklist

Below are some of my thoughts/ideas on strategies we all could implement daily to practice self kindness.. in no particular order..

  • Internal dialogue, how we talk to ourselves.
    Be mindful of this.. Try to use positive language to speak to yourself. Talk to yourself like you would your closest friends, with love and positivity.
    A personal example of this I have implemented in my life is that I have a rule for myself that I will only look in a mirror if I am going to say something positive. ie. if I am having a day where I am aware that I am being unnecessarily critical of myself I avoid mirrors and in doing so limit possible triggers for self criticism and unreasonable judgement.
    Become aware of the language you use to talk to yourself and how you talk about yourself to others. Be kind.

  • Be kind to your body, as a fitness professional this wouldn’t be my blog post if I didn’t touch on the importance of this!
    Your body is quite literally your home, treat it with kindness. Honour what it needs daily for longevity, create and strengthen your foundations for a healthy happy body..

    -Fuel your body, feed yourself nutritious foods ensuring you are providing your body with what it needs to thrive.

    -Hydrate, drink ample water (if this is something you struggle with set reminders on your phone to drink throughout the day. May as well use the technology we have so readily available to us!)

    -Sleep, make sure you are getting adequate sleep (aim for roughly 7-9 hours a night) create a sleep hygiene routine that works for you .. read, stretch, meditate, relax .. put technology to one side it will still be there tomorrow, allow yourself to unwind.

    -Rest, allow yourself time to rest and recover. None of us are invincible.. neglecting rest won’t do you any good in the long run.

  • Honour and acknowledge your feelings, identify how others around you make you feel. Show yourself care and kindness by knowing what you deserve. Do yourself the kindness of removing or minimising contact with those who constantly cause you to feel negative or unwanted emotions.
    In addition to this give yourself time to spend doing the things that add to your happiness ie. visiting places you love & spending time with those who make you smile.
    Choose to prioritise your own needs, after all when we ourselves are well cared for we are coming from a much better place to tackle all external obstacles. 
  • Know when to say yes and no.. Being kind to yourself in prioritising your needs. Ultimately no-one will thank you for putting your needs on the back burner. Yes, it’s nice to do things for others but if this comes at your expense maybe it’s time to take a step back and prioritise you. 
  • Gifts, This on is simple, ever brought some flowers for a friend to make them smile? Why not do the same for yourself?
    This is something I have typically struggled with, I am always hesitant when it comes to buying things for myself. Why? Usually I can think of 100 reasons not to buy something and maybe only one reason to take the leap. Buying yourself something doesn’t need a justification but in case you are in any doubt .. you deserve it, show yourself appreciation for how hard you work. 
  • Space, give yourself the time and space that you need. Be kind to yourself by acknowledging how you feel and acknowledging that your happiness doesn’t need to be justified to others.
    If you need space, be kind, give yourself the space and time without feeling guilty for focusing on yourself. If you are surrounded by the right people doing this will require no explanation! 

So (if you have made it through that mammoth list) you might be wondering where to start..
Well let’s start as simply as we can. Let’s start by making a commitment to ourselves to practice daily self kindness. More specifically for the next 7 days (this week) grant yourself at least one act of kindness each day. Establish what you are going to do for yourself during the course of that day, write it down, tell a friend, be accountable and get it done. Big or small just one act of kindness.

With daily consistency, practicing the act of kindness towards yourself, consciously deciding to do things to be kind to yourself you will notice (or maybe even not notice) that over time it becomes less of a conscious choice and rather a way of life, second nature! 

If that thought excites you .. make it your reality!
The world can always benefit from a little more kindness and so can you.


For more information on mental health awareness week visit:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

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