Kindness – where to start?

Learning the importance of being kind to ourselves

How do I show them I’m thinking of them? This is a question we are all trying to answer in one way or another at the moment. Kindness to those amazing people out there working to keep us safe, fed and things delivered to name but a few. Kindness to those we love and can’t get to, Kindness to those in our household.

These are all important and there are lots of things you can do to do that, and so many people providing care boxes And amazing ways of doing this. Try Hope&Ginger for gorgeous thinking of you boxes, or HKcreations who has postcard packs with stamps (Genius!), and for inspirational and happy stickers check out Bowlerbeardesigns for the monthly sticker club and generally beautiful bright stickers to fill someone’s day with happy.

What I want to talk about and ask you to think about is how you are showing kindness to yourself.

I know, shocking isn’t it! In a time like this should we be thinking of ourselves? Isn’t it just indulgent and unnecessary? Not at all. You see something I believe whole heartedly is that when we neglect to care for ourselves then the care that we can give others is only on half power.

We stunt our abilities by ignoring our own needs.

We are not made to be machines and we really do need to recognise what our needs are. Yes I do agree there have been times and people (maybe even in your life) who have misused the term self care and used it to excuse bad behaviour. Please lets remember no-one is perfect and just because you have seen it misused by some, doesn’t mean the whole concept should be thrown out as a bad idea.

Now what do I mean by self care then? I mean taking time and allowing yourself to do something that helps you recharge. It might be saying you are going to have a cuppa in a separate room and ask to be left to do it in quiet for a little while. It might be calling a friend, or taking a bath. I know people who need, and its a physical need to get outside and ride a bike or run. These acts of self care are not extravagant, they are recognising that you are human and you need to do something that lights your fire and keeps you sane .

Keep going - be inspired by the inner voice collection
Keep going from the inner voice collection by LucyJoy

I went through a period where I was not making or drawing, I think it was months when I didn’t pick up a pen or paintbrush to make something. I didn’t realise this was a problem. I saw my desire to do this a ‘just a bit of fun’ and the needs at the time did not allow room for that. I found myself feeling lost and unseen. It was really sad and actually in seeing it I realise I would never want someone to feel like that when it can be so easily helped.

This is how I began my journey to become a mindful artist, I realised making and creating is not a little hobby I do when all the other things are done but part of me. In understanding our different parts we can see what we need to nourish us both physically and spiritually. I asked you today to think about being kind to yourself, that might feel like a difficult thing. So think for a minute, imagine writing a card to someone you love, when they receive it what do they do? They look at who its addressed to, maybe they guess who’s handwriting it is. They open the envelope and enjoy the picture, maybe you chose something they really love and it makes them smile. Now they begin reading the note, maybe they reread it, maybe they pause to enjoy seeing your writing then it is carefully place where it will be seen. Each step has allowed them to stop and enjoy the moment of receiving a card, the love passed through it is tangible and they can come and return to it physically or in their mind for days now.

This small act encapsulates mindful actions, taking time to slow down, be in the moment, feel the emotions and be focused on that one thing, that one moment.

This is the kindness we need to show to ourselves too.

So how can we show kindness to ourselves?

Let’s start by asking a few questions, now I will stay before even asking one that I struggle to know whats my favourite anything, and to choose one thing to do, to eat, even to choose a favourite colour!! I hate whittling down my options to become what feels too small. I am not asking you to do that but just to answer maybe the first thing that comes into your head it might surprise you with what you come up with…

What makes you smile when you think about it?

What do you see others doing and picture yourself doing?

When your mind wanders where does it go?

You don’t have to do the same thing every time either, don’t box yourself in. For me some days I like to run, others all I want to do is sit and draw, others it’s painting my nails and watch Netflix’s ‘Grace and Frankie’. Part of good self care is showing yourself that you are valued. Valued enough to take sometime for what you need, valued enough to calm your mind knowing thats the best way for you to do what you do. This valuing is not other people and how they see you – It’s how you see you. It’s the ability to see what you do as important and the role you are responsible for as unique and special. It is also the ability to recognise that you need time to recharge and in recognising this and giving yourself permission to do that is very freeing.

You are Loved - encouragement card by Lucy Joy
Your are loved – encouragement card by LucyJoy

You may have already come up with lots of ideas that will for what you would like to do but I thought I would share some here, some places to go and things to enjoy that give you the opportunity to take time for yourself and recharge.

If you like to draw and enjoy a giggle go to Thomkofoed he has created some amazing versions of his famous people portraits where you can add hats to people such as Bette Davis and Barbra Streisand, He also has a collection of free mindful activities.

On my previous blog post there is Leona at Indie Roller’s collection of crafters on her blog post, it is a very full list.

I have several journaling products which vary in length, from the wall art and journaling page to the set of journaling cards Time For You.

I adore Yoga with Adrienne and can not recommend this highly enough as she is just so good and easy to join in with.

How about making your favourite cake and taking some time to eat it in the quiet or over video chat with a friend.

What is the one food you really miss? Can you find a recipe for it or add it to your shopping list next week?

Set yourself time to read a book.

All of these ideas are full of value and can be used to whatever level suits you but I will add that they won’t just happen. It’s about making a decision to value yourself, to claim some time even if it is just short and recognise this is your time to be cared for and nourished. It will take practice and patience but you can do it and you will reap such goodness from it.

By caring for yourself you will be able to care for others too.

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