10 Ways To Be Kind To Yourself

(Courtesy of Emma Carroll)

There are countless ways to give and receive kindness; something more important than ever.  I’ve compiled ten ways I love to do so for myself and others. Feel free to join in on the fun by adding or creating your own, too!

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us to slow down, think, and re-evaluate and is one way that I love practicing kindness toward myself. If you want to be mindful of yourself and others but aren’t sure where to start,, there are free mindfulness apps out there, such as HeadSpace, which is available for both iOS and Android. I would also recommend this deck of mindfulness cards (available on Amazon for $15.26 USD).  It includes colorful cards that are split into the following categories: Rest & Balance, Curiosity & Joy, Insight & Awareness, and Kindness (!!!).  There are over 50 cards containing various exercises to help you be more mindful in your day-to-day life, as well as two blank cards which you can personalize with your own exercises. 

2. Cuddle Your Furry Friends

If you’re like me and love animals, I’ve found that giving kindness to pets is one of my favorite ways to practice kindness.  For me, there’s nothing sweeter than cuddling my dog, Ole, after a hard day, because he reciprocates that love right back. If you don’t have a furry friend, 

3. Donate to Your Favorite Nonprofit

Nonprofits do critical work in our communities, and one way to keep that work going is by donating.  I personally love organizations like Three Square LV, which gives backpacks of meals to children in need.  $4.00 feeds a hungry child for an entire weekend. If you’re able, a small amount of money can go a long way.  

4. Volunteer

Perhaps even importantly more than donations, nonprofits rely on volunteers to accomplish their missions.  Find an organization with a mission you’re passionate about and reach out. Volunteering is free, you will meet the most incredible people who have like-minded values and are interested in the work you’re doing, and most importantly, you’ll feel good about it at the end of the day.  

5. Pay for the Person Behind You.

This might be one of my favorite acts of kindness because it is so unsuspecting. You don’t know who you’re paying for, and the reaction is always priceless. It’s a small act of kindness that can come at the most needed time, for both the giver and the receiver.

6. Practice gratitude toward others.

This is a simple, and free, act of kindness that I love.  Simply saying “thank you” to others, especially when they aren’t expecting it, can go a long way.  When I graduated from college, I sent thank you emails to each of my core professors that I’d spent much of my time with over my academic journey, and received heartwarming responses back.  Showing your appreciation is something that means a lot to everyone involved.

7. Take a nap.

I confess: I’m an adult who loves a good nap. Naps are refreshing on days when you’re exhausted, physically or mentally. If you’re tired, a nap can be a perfect way to recharge. Take time for yourself, because you deserve it.

8. Write kind notes to strangers.

Writing kind notes to strangers that say “You’re beautiful” or “You’re doing a great job today,” are small gestures that go a long way. Often, we never know what another person is going through, despite an outward smile and appearance of happiness. It seems small, but can have the power to completely turn someone’s day around.

9. Check in with your friends.

Checking in with friends and asking how they’re doing is another powerful, and free, act of kindness.  Remember to be gentle with them and not to give unsolicited advice in difficult situations. Rather, just being a listening ear can be critical to friends in their time of need.

10. Check in with yourself

I love therapy, and I’m a huge advocate for therapy.  It’s been an invaluable tool in helping to manage my own mental health.  Find a therapist in your community or, alternatively, use apps like the TalkSpace app to be matched with a therapist.  Sessions are affordable (more than 80 percent lower than traditional therapy) and confidential. TalkSpace is available for iOS and Android.

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