Have you heard the saying, "Kindness is free – so sprinkle that shit everywhere"? This can apply in many ways, especially as we rapidly approach a traditionally crazy and busy time of year.
We don't think it is a coincidence that as time runs out towards the end of the year, people's stress levels increase, finances get tighter, tempers get shorter, and kindness to others seems to evaporate, as kindness to self.
Kindness doesn't cost you anything except maybe a little time, a smile or a simple gesture when it comes to others. In fact, some acts of kindness gain you time because instead of being that keyboard warrior and unleashing on the actual human at the other end, you don't type the email or comment.
I am a huge advocate that little acts of kindness you can do for others help you feel better and happier! This type of kindness really doesn't have a "negative cost" in fact by being kind to others you may even be making someone's day, making the smile or simply paying it forward. Surely that helps you feel good on the inside too. If there is no chance of something doing any harm, but some chance of It doing good, isn't it worth it?
Kindness to self can be a fickle beast.
Yes, your training is essential. Yes, what you put into your body is important. Yes, who you surround yourself with is important, and Yes, your goals and mental state are important. Do you know what else is important? Being able to acknowledge that sometimes things don't go to plan and that it is ok. That is the ultimate kindness to yourself.
External pressures can drastically increase at certain times of the year, and I know that the latter part of the year is one of those times. I am not saying I am perfect at practising kindness towards myself; so very far from it. BUT. I try my best, and that is all any of us can really do. Sometimes practising kindness to yourself is as simple as adapting. Adapting a training session from a run to a set on the stationary bike. Switching a hard run for a more gentle stroll if you are under a lot of emotional stress.
Sometimes it might even be saying you know what my soul needs filling right now. I am going to spend that time with those I care for rather than training – that is ok too! Sometimes it's the opposite; I need to get away from this situation, so I am going training. Kindness to self is going to be different to everyone. What is important is that you give yourself the space to be kind to yourself.
Start with just acknowledging what kindness means to you. What does it mean for you to be kind to someone else? What does it mean for you to be kind to yourself? I really do believe that this is the first step. Being able to recognise what kindness is. Then you can start to implement it in small, easy ways for others. This might be a passing smile to someone that looks stressed. It might be letting a person that only has a bottle of milk go before you in the supermarket line or simply not sending that snarky email comment.
Then you can tackle the hard one. Kindness to self. This might be cutting yourself some slack as demands on your time increase and acknowledging that it is a balancing act. Sometimes you have all the time in the world to get through your training, dietary and work requirements. Sometimes you don't, and that is ok. Not getting upset with yourself and simply adapting to the situation is the ultimate self-kindness here. It is okay to be frustrated with the situation; you are human. What is most important is to not let that frustration overwhelm you and to allow yourself to move past it by adapting and being kind to yourself. When I can be kind to myself, I feel like a weight is lifted from my shoulders. That the world seems a little easier when I can adapt, and it is easier to feel motivated to train – what about you? What is it like when you can sprinkle kindness everywhere?
Remember, ultimately, kindness is FREE!
The reward and the payoff can be huge!