So it’s a crazy time right. The news is COVID this, COVID that, death counts and new hot spots and outrageous infection numbers. School is on, then off, then on again. Last weekend I can have 50 people at my home, this weekend it’s ten. This week I need a mask to go on the bus. Lucky, I don’t have 50 people I want in my home. It’s time to start a new pandemic, the kindness pandemic, and it starts with you.
Back here, I wrote about finding joy. Now I think we need to talk about kindness. Before we talk about being kind to our kids, our significant other, our co-workers and the neighbours, lets talk about being kind to ourselves.
Kindness is a gift, and it’s one we should give ourselves.
I’m dead set serious about this. I see women everywhere bearing the burdens of responsibility. And I mean all kinds of responsibility. From caring for kids and an extended family, to shopping and meal prep and even where are the car keys/ bus pass / school tie and more. It’s overwhelm at every level. It’s little wonder as to why we eat / drink / self medicate to survive.
It’s because we need to take the time to be kind to ourselves first.
Kind is saying no and sometimes it’s saying NO. Kind is telling your child to self amuse, while you drink a coffee in the sun, kind is saying I want to go for a walk by myself and not take the kids. Kind is saying no to the boss, you can’t get that thing done over the weekend, Monday will be fine. Kind is letting the clothes washing pile up for the seventh day and, instead going to bed early with Netflix. Kind is knowing dinner can survive with two veg and not three. Kind is letting others in your life be responsible for finding their own keys / bus pass / school tie.
When we use to fly in planes, you know BC19 (before COVID19), there was a reason the safety instructions say to put your oxygen mask on before your children. It’s so you are still breathing and can help the kids with theirs. Same with kindness.
You need to come first, so you can BREATH and refill your soul to then be of service to others.
We are no good to the ones we love worn to a frazzle, and we are certainly no good to ourselves.
But, how do we find it in ourselves to show kindness to us first. Here are four ways to show yourself kindness.
Silence the inner critic
Stop the negative self talk here and now. You are enough. In the moment we do the best we can. That is fine. End of critical self talk. Move on. A neat way to silence the inner critic is to find joy in what’s in front of you. Take the focus off your actions and look up at a cloud, hug the dog, smell a flower, sit in the sun, put on some music. Just do something else to move away from the self criticism. You don’t need it, it won’t help and, let me assure you, the sun will rise tomorrow and you can have another go at life.
Develop the NO response
Learning to say no, when you have been a life long ‘yes person’, takes practice and disciple. Start with things you don’t like doing, but do anyway. Like folding laundry. Say no to folding laundry. When your kids are old enough, just let them to fold their own laundry. Be sure not to really care how the kids fold them, just let them stuff them in drawers, if that’s what it takes. If you care, you won’t say no and you will be folding laundry for a 22 year old.
Learn the art of delegation
It is not your job to remember everything for all the family. Teach them the skill of putting an item in the same place each time it’s not being used. So they can find it next time they want it. Do not be the holder of all knowledge as to the location of everything. It’s draining. Nor should you be doing more than a share of the domestics. Kids, from a relatively young age, can make their own beds, do the dog water, vacuum their rooms, mow the lawns and more. Your significant other should be contributing too. Delegate, delegate and do more delegating.
Not everything has to be a group activity
There is a great deal to gain in alone time. Even a 15 minute walk can seem like heaven when it’s you alone with your thoughts, or no thoughts is good too. Caregivers need a break from caring for others. Make a space in your day for you. Alone on the patio for coffee is great. If you have to, go out and sit in a cafe alone with your flat white. If all you do is read an out of date magazine for 15 minutes that is great. Alone time is a way to show kindness to yourself.
So, is it that simple? No, of course not. But, you can start somewhere, do one thing, show one kindness towards yourself. Then, build on that. Make today, the day. Carve out one little act of kindness and gift it to yourself. I insist.
Big squeeze, Le xox
PS need more ways to be kind to yourself … here is an article with 17 ways to show yourself some kindness.