When we think of kindness we probably think about being nice to our friends, our family, the neighbors down the street, even the stranger at the grocery store. If someone were to ask you if you are a kind person, chances are you would say yes. In most settings, we were raised with the basic knowledge that we should be kind to others, you know the old saying "treat others how you want to be treated".
Now what if someone asked you if you were a kind person to yourself? Are you kind with the thoughts you think on a daily basis? Are you kind with the way you treat your body? Are you kind when it comes to the foods you eat and the products you use? Are you kind when it comes to allowing your body rest?
Likely that question brought up some emotions. Maybe shock. Sometimes guilt. Or maybe pride because you have worked really hard to become a kinder person to yourself. What I've noticed in my time working with women, being kind to others is second nature, being kind to ourselves, takes some work.
Today my goal is to explore with you what being kind to yourself looks and feels like, a simple step you can take today and some journal prompts to explore to help you choose kindness.
When I first started the process of choosing kindness for myself, I didn't know what that even looked like. Many of us have a background of constant diets, repetitive burnout, extremes and negative self talk. A big part of choosing kindness, is tapping into our selves and asking "what do I need in this moment?" This is going to look different on everyone and constantly be changing as you go throughout your day. Below you will find journal prompts to help you navigate what choosing kindness looks like for you personally but here are a few guidelines I believe can work for most.
Choosing kindness is:
The first step
The first step to choosing kindness is to simply begin. Instead of complicating things or waiting for the perfect moment to explore kindness, I encourage you to explore it now. If this is new for you, here is a quick exercise you can do to get present and tap into what your body needs. I use this with my therapy clients regularly.
Sitting in a comfortable position, take 3 long, deep breaths. Now, ask yourself
what are 5 things that you see, 4 things that you hear, 3 things that you can touch, 2 things that you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Take 3 more deep breaths and than ask yourself, what do I need in this moment? Honor what comes to you. Is it rest? Work? Nature?
When you have some time to get cozy, grab some tea or coffee and your favorite journal and explore some of these topics. This will help give you a better understanding of what you need more of on a regular basis.
What are things that you value most in your life?
What are some of your favorite ways to treat yourself?
What are your personal gifts you offer to the world?
What fills your heart up?
What would you do if you had more time in the day?
What brought you joy as a child?
What positive words describe yourself?
To me, choosing kindness means...
Write a love letter to yourself about all your accomplishments.
I hope some of these tips help you on your journey to choosing kindness. Be gentle with yourself, offer lots of grace and remember we're all in this together.
If you're looking to join a group of like minded women, join us in our private wellness group here.
Saying no can be hard. Like really hard. And how do we do it in a way that's kind without hurting feelings? Saying no can bring on feelings of anxiety and stress if it's not something that comes natural to us. As tough as it might be to get comfortable with saying no it is SO important for our well being. Think of all the things, as women especially, that we say yes to. Eventually, it adds up and starts taking away from things that are important to us. The more we say yes to the stuff that doesn't serve us, the more we say no to ourselves, our families and our overall wellness.
I've been there. A lot. I use to be the person that said yes to everything. Overwhelm and stress were a common part of my life. What truly made me shift my thinking was finding a big enough 'why'. I became a mama, and that changed everything. As difficult as it was, I knew I didn't (and my family didn't) deserve to live life burnt out and just getting by. You don't deserve that either.
Having the ability to say no is powerful. It allows you to set healthy boundaries and allows others the opportunity to do the same.
The truth of it is, time is something we wont ever get back. We can jam pack our days and our lives to the brim because we feel like we have to and that's the normal thing to do, but is that really living? I love the quote "Don't confuse a busy life for a full life". So. Much. Truth. When we continuously fill our life with saying yes to "stuff" we put off living in the moment, being present and living with intention.
If saying no is hard for you, don't worry, I've been there. Today i'm sharing with you things that I've personally done to make saying "no" a heck of a lot easier.
1. Understand your values. This is something that one day will be it's very own blog post because it's so powerful. When we get clear on what our values are and begin to make decisions aligned with them the rest falls into place. Choosing our priorities becomes a simple decision. Saying no becomes easier.
2. Give yourself some time. The most powerful realization I had was when I learned I had a choice and I didn't need to answer right away. If you're not sure or you need a second to think it through, let it be known. Repeat after me "let me think about it and i'll get back to you".
3. You don't need to explain yourself. Give yourself permission to say no without an explanation. Keep it simple.
4. Prioritize. Life is going to happen and it's up to us to make sure we are living it how we want to. When asked to commit to something new take a moment to check in and see if it's something that you want in your life. If no, practice #1, 2 and 3 :)
How are you when it comes to saying No?
Keep up the work friend,
How are mornings in your home? Are they calm, peaceful + relaxing? Or rushed, crazy + overwhelming? I know i'm accurate when I say there's two types of people in this world, morning lovers + night owls. Although I've always been one to love the calmness + quiet of an early morning, I also know so many humans (my husband included) that love to stay up late at night. Also, now that I have an 8 month old that loves to 'hangout' during the night and keep mommy awake, early mornings have been somewhat of an adjustment. With all that being said,
I think that in order to create a shift and to begin the process of transformation, waking up earlier is the place to start. Now, don't get me wrong, there are seasons in life when early morning wake ups aren't possible. Take me for example, when we first had our son, I had to get sleep whenever I could, I was on survival mode, but for most people, I suggest to give these early mornings a shot.
So why mornings you ask? When we can start our day out productively, it effects all areas of our life. When we put our self care, quiet time or productivity time off, there's just too many chances for it to get forgotten or put aside throughout our day. If you're looking for a great book that goes into depth about this and also chats about how to wake up earlier you can snag The Miracle Morning .
In this post we're going to jam on what to do when you're up + how to create an atmosphere that makes for a productive day.
1. Create the Vibe
The environment you start your day in is SO important. The first hour totally sets the pace for your day. Leave your phone on airplane mode, keep the news off and focus on creating an environment that brings you comfort. Make a point to get up before the family and create this sacred space for you. For me, I like to get my diffuser going with whatever essential oils i'm feeling that day, turn on Jack Johnson radio and start my coffee. While I do this I write out my gratitudes + permissions ( I shared about this in our private wellness community, you can join that here ) . This creates the type of vibe I want to experience throughout my day.
Connect, get grounded, become centered, whatever you want to call it, now is the time to do it. Take some time to do a self inventory. Sit in meditation, do some deep breathing, take a moment to listen to your body. What does it need? This is usually when I decide what my body needs physically throughout the day. Is it craving yoga? Does it need a long run? Does is need to rest and regroup? Taking this time (even if it's only for a few minutes) to take a judgment free, honest inventory of your self can help you set your day up in a way that works for you.
3. Top 3 priorities
So to be fair, this part can be done the night before or in the morning but what I like to do is brain dump on a piece of paper and get everything on my to do list out of my head. It's nice to do this the night before because it clears your head so you can relax a bit more easily but doing it in the morning is just as beneficial. After the brain dump, take your top three things that need to be accomplished that day. Only three! If you do more than that it's just icing on the cake. After you write out your priorities list for your day, do the toughest one first. You know, the one you've been putting off for months + keep saying you'll do it later? Yeah, that one. It's called eating the frog. Get that one out of the way + than tackle the others. This leads to feeling productive opposed to just staring at a long to do list that never gets done.
I encourage you to try this for a week. See how your days change. I'd love to hear your thoughts on early morning wake ups. What does your routine look like?
I'm always rooting for you,
Hanna Kuyper is a wife, a mom and a lover of all things outdoors. She has owned a women only wellness studio, sat on the board of a non profit dedicated to eating disorder and body image awareness and has volunteered as a mentor for girls in school. Hanna has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in eating disorders and body image. She is a currently a virtual body image and recovery coach at The Eating Disorder Center.