Now more than ever, with real uncertainty and unknowns facing us every moment of our lives, being kind to yourself is crucial. Depending on how much you have decided to pay attention to the news around us, you may have one or several issues that you’re dealing with every day. They are full of uncertainty, as no one really knows what will happen in the future. Some are full of danger, as they may affect you or your family personally. Even if you think it doesn’t affect you directly, it’s still on your mind.
This is the time to really focus on giving yourself permission to be kind to yourself. It’s ok to take some time for yourself to relax, or to do that one thing you’ve been wanting to do. Other obligations and caring for others and responsibilities will always exist. If you prioritize them all the time above yourself, you’ll never get to that one task or skill, or opportunity you’ve been wanting to do or practice.
If you are a caregiver, not putting yourself first drains your mental and spiritual battery. Your empathy level goes down as you get tired. And if you’re an introvert, if you don’t take time for yourself, you’ll grow even more withdrawn at home, even from your own family.
Here are some simple ways to restore some time and calm yourself. Be kind to yourself, and it will translate into you being kind to others.
Be Aware of Your Day
It’s easy at the moment as you react to your day to lose track of what’s going on. You wake up to your alarm, go through your morning routine, and maybe grab breakfast before you’re headed to work or sit down at your desk at home. Or your daily caretaking of others has started, whether you’re a parent, a sibling, or an adult taking care of their parents.
If your day is full of reacting to events happening in your life, it’s hard to find time just for yourself. Without knowing what your plan is for the day, you can’t plan kindness for yourself. There’s no need to push yourself to give yourself an hour or two of spa time. You can start smaller, maybe with just 5 minutes to sit with your coffee or tea in hand, undisturbed from everything else going on.
Here are some ideas for quick things you can do to be kind to yourself.
- Walk your dog
- Sit outside with a drink
- Read a book
- Weed a small part of your garden
- Put a relaxing facemask on
- Put on some music and dance
- Power nap
If you need to schedule this time, try working on your calendar in the evening. You can look at your next day and set aside 5 to 15 minutes that is only for you. Nothing else can touch this time. It only needs to happen once during the entire day. We need to make our time, and if we don’t, other events will take control of our day.
Ideas for Longer Moments of Kindness
Like with any habit or daily ritual, starting small is the key to being able to consistently set aside time for yourself. You can also try finding obligations that you have said “yes” to in the past that aren’t really necessary for your life. It’s ok to say “no” to protect your sanity and what you truly care about in your life. You may find even more time after saying “no” which gives you the opportunity to do even more in being kind to yourself.
Here are some other ideas that may take longer and that can be done over multiple days.
- Learn a new skill
- Craft something new (knit a blanket, paint a watercolor, create a custom bench)
- Go on a hike through nature
- Ride your motorcycle/dirt bike/bicycle
- Do some yoga
There are countless activities and possibilities. Just remember to only do the activities that truly give you joy. You don’t want to create another burden for yourself by forcing yourself to do something you’re not excited about. If you find that something that used to give you pleasure has somehow lost its luster, step away from that activity. You can always come back to it, and you may feel even more renewed once you have recovered.
Without knowing what your plan is for the day, you can’t plan kindness for yourself.
Being Kind to Yourself is Being Kind to Others
Lately, you can come across distressing and negative news every day. You don’t even need to look very far. Your lifestyle may have changed dramatically in the last several years. Any uncertainty can add to stress and add up to despair. You can regain control over your life by being kind to yourself. Take a few moments of your day and do something that is only for yourself. As Greg McKeown mentions in his book Essentialism, “if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
By being kind to yourself and giving yourself the peace and calm that you need, you’ll find more energy for others around you. Because you have already made time for yourself, making time for the people you care about will come easier. You’ll be able to take care and be kind to people a lot easier once you have already done so for yourself.
So take a look at your calendar. Look at tomorrow. Can you find 5 to 15 minutes that you can call all yours? Make that time, and pick something that you enjoy doing. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.