In consciously exploring how to be kinder to myself, I observe again and again, how forgetful I can be when it comes to remembering what’s in my best interest. To help evade such unkind amnesia and to encourage you to share your experiences and ideas (and because I love making lists), I’ve decided to keep a running list.
So here are my Acts of Kindness, #1 – #9 (in no particular order):
1. Get enough sleep
Possibly one of the most underrated prerequisites for good health. I’ve been learning more about what affects our circadian rhythms and using apps such as the Sleepyti.me Bedtime Calculator to get up at an appropriate point in my sleep cycle – with great results. I’m working on getting 9 hours (but struggling with retiring early enough).
2. Wake up early …
… enough so that I can take my time. I’ve been trying to get up at 6am on weekdays and trust me, I’m NOT a morning person. But getting up this early means that I can start the day off more relaxed. I get ready at a leisurely pace, easily find a seat on the train and then get to walk through quiet streets that are very conducive to reflection. In fact, I’ve had several insights and break-throughs during these 15 minute walks from the train station to my office. Ordinarily, I would take the bus but, given the early rising, I can stroll without anxiety that I’ve got to start working. When I weigh up the pros and cons of waking up early, the pros are the outright winner.
3. Get the must-dos done first
Many have said it and they know what they’re on about. I’ve tried this way and I’ve also tried getting the necessary but not essential out of the way first. The latter usually exhausts me and leads me on tangents that are either downright unproductive or just simply not a priority. While I might accomplish a lot by the end of the day (quantity), I will have not done the most important things (quality). This applies to non-work related goals too, such as exercise. Get it done first thing and you don’t have to battle your excuses later. This act of kindness helps to lessen chances of failure.
4. Say no
Again, this has to do with focusing on the most important things. Time is such a valuable resource and I have no doubt that people are also queuing up to have a piece of yours. Discriminating may seem harsh but, at the end of the day, I am the one who’ll have to catch up/rush/stress because I said yes to please somebody else.
5. Make time just for me
Few things are more delicious and satisfying. Whether I spend the time to practice yoga or leisurely making a meal, whether I catch up with some guilty pleasure TV or get lost in a favourite blog or on Pinterest. Ultimately, it’s me allowing myself to do what I want, on my own terms, without having to consider anybody else (it may sound obvious but this is possibly the item on the list that I find most difficult to do).
I find that there is something very satisfying about articulating what’s going on in my head, in words. It’s a way for me to figure things out – to make sense of and understand them. When I’m feeling unsettled, imbalanced and overwhelmed, sitting down to write often centres and rejuvenates me. When I manage to write everyday, I feel invincible!
Focusing on the very moment means that I can put my all in it and allow other things to move into their proper perspective. On a more practical level, I can be seriously accident prone (which is just a form of self-destruction isn’t it?) and simple mindfulness spares me a lot of pain and misery.
8. Eat Paleo
After an overly indulgent weekend, in terms of my grain, sugar and dairy ingestion, and feeling the uncomfortable bloating and heaviness that I haven’t experienced in so long, there is no doubt that I have been unkind to my body. The paleo path has really changed my life.
9. Keep learning
There’s the satisfaction and sheer joy I experience from going deeper into a subject that I’m passionate about and then there’s the confidence that grows as my understanding does (e.g. the confidence to make better decisions). Knowledge is exciting – it opens up new ideas and new worlds and new opportunities.
And self-knowledge is possibly the most revelatory of all! I’d love to hear from you. How do you practice self-kindness?
- Giving into Routine: Tips on How to Make Ones that Work – plus 5 essential reads/resources
- Rituals of Kindness: Bringing Mindfulness and Joy to Everyday Tasks
- Going Paleo/Primal: Blogs to Support your Diet and Lifestyle Transformation
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