“Of course. I’d love to help out!” you say.
You whip out your calendar and add another thing to your already too long to-do list. You really don’t mind helping with the kids’ school fundraiser. After all you just adore their teachers so this is the least you can do. Right?
Somehow you’ll pull it off. The kids really do need computers in their classrooms. You just have to switch some things around. But what? You already get up at the crack of dawn to get things done before everyone wakes up and then stay up late making sure everyone has clean clothes and you haven’t forgotten to respond to any work emails.
Maybe you can cut out exercising. No wait, you cut that out last year to make time for tutoring. Or was that baseball? Either way that slot is already taken. Have you even eaten yet today? You’ll just have to work a little faster and sleep a little less this week. Bring on the coffee.
Swap out the details for the ones on your to-do list and I’m guessing you can relate to this scenario.
Now fast forward 30 years. Picture yourself as a grandmother watching your child have that very same day. Instead of you staying up late to make sure it all gets done, it’s your child burning the candle at both ends. Wouldn’t you tell her to pause, regroup, and do something nice for herself sometimes too?
Or is this the idea of kindness you want your kids to internalize? That good moms are martyrs who don’t need sleep.
Wouldn’t you want her to know that being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others?
Be kind to yourself.
Maybe for you it’s not a lack of taking time for yourself. Maybe it’s negative self-talk, too little sleep, or too much junk food. Maybe it’s even a favorite hobby you’ve given up for the sake of getting more done.
Being kind to yourself doesn’t take away from being able to do for others. In fact the opposite is true. Taking the time to be kind to yourself fills you up to be able to do for others. It makes your life happier. And happier moms are always a good thing.
Being Kind to Yourself Kindness Challenge
So far in the 100 acts of kindness project we’ve been focusing on all the things we can do for others, but now we’re going to shake things up a little bit.
We are challenging you to brainstorm 5 ways you can be kind to yourself and complete at least one this week.
Yep. You and your kids are actually going to have to do something good for yourselves for this challenge!
Tips for Encouraging Kids to Be Kind to Themselves
The story earlier illustrated how moms don’t always take the time to be kind to themselves on a regular basis, but kids need to learn to be kind to themselves too. Not in the eat-more-candy-for-lunch kind of way. In the I-can-make-my-day-better-for-myself kind of way.
In some ways figuring out how to be kind to yourself is trickier for kids than it is for adults. Encourage them to really think about things that help fill them up inside, not just 5 fun things they like. Talk aloud things you’ve noticed to help them start thinking in the right direction. Say things like, “I notice how happy and peaceful you get after you are coloring.” Or “dancing really brings a smile to your face.”
Older kids may struggle with this even more. Life gets pretty busy for kids and they may not know at first what they can do to be kind to themselves. Give them a day or two to brainstorm and “try out” some ideas to see what resonates.
25 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself
- Read a book.
- Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
- Draw or paint.
- Get active.
- Splurge on healthy food.
- Try something new.
- Get up and dance.
- Go for a walk with a friend.
- Keep a journal.
- Eat your favorite meal for dinner.
- Let it go to voicemail.
- Say no to the next fundraiser.
- Ask your family to tell you 5 things they each love about you.
- Forgive yourself.
- Eat breakfast
- Take a break.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Share a success.
- Unsubscribe from all those emails.
- Get a pedicure.
- Say no to toxic relationships and friendships.
- Eat the dessert.
Or whatever works for YOU! Remember this isn’t about what you “should” do or what “sounds” good to someone else. It’s about placing a priority on you and what fills you up inside.
And setting a great example for your kids in the process.
How will you be kind to yourself this week? If you are feeling brave enough to share I’d love to hear it. Comment below and inspire others to make time to be kind to themselves too!