The biggest thing that came out of me doing my 30 day kindness challenge was probably the change in how I define kindness. When I set out to do my 30 day challenge I wrote out a list of nice things I could do for myself which included things like massages, flowers, yoga and other self care bits and bobs. And that was really how I was defining kindness; nice things that I could do for myself.
I didn’t want to completely plan what I would do each day because I wanted each day to be about what I needed on that day. I started by picking random things off the list but after a few days the list went out the door and each morning I would simply ask myself what do you need today? And with that question each day my understanding of kindness evolved.
One morning I found myself deliberating over if something was an act of kindness or if it was more a happiness thing. Then I told myself it’s not very kind to argue with yourself about kindness (I can see how crazy this seems as I write it). And then I asked myself why are you doing this again… isn’t this about being better to yourself and doing less self judging and scrutinising. It was then that I realised how much of a hard time I give myself wanting to make things “correct”. This was my challenge that I created for myself there were no rules or regulations around what I could and couldn’t do. Kindness was about giving myself a big fat dose of self compassion and allowing things to be imperfect. I needed to put down the big stick that I often beat myself with and embrace my imperfect self with love.
A little while after posting my last picture for my 30 day challenge it was pointed out to me that I’d spelt “I’m Allowed” incorrectly as “I’m Aloud”. My stomach dropped and I felt sick. And in that moment I had a choice, delete the post, fix it and put it back up or let it be wrong and follow where that sick feeling comes from. And in the true spirit of kindness I let it be wrong and I sat with my feelings of failure because for me it wasn’t just a silly mistake it was decades of not being able to spell. I was taken right back to primary school and being the kid who had to do special Ed and was picked on for not bring able to spell. Spelling is something I’ve struggled with my entire life and talking about my learning difficulties is something that I pretty much never go near. Until this moment I’ve probably never really appreciated just how much shame I’ve attached to this part of myself. Even after being diagnosed with a learning disability I still set the bar really high for myself and would wind up feeling like failure for not being able to meet my unrealistic expectations. I was amazed by how much a spelling mistake brought up for me and just how much I’d supressed for years. As I ran through my experiences in the education system I began to realise how far I’d come and as a smile came over my face I with filled with delight for all my achievements.
It’s funny how things that happen seemingly by mistake can end up being just what you need. Being able to embrace a shortcoming that has followed me around for years was perhaps the greatest act of kindness I could ever give myself.
Below is my full list of my 30 day journey…please enjoy
The most intimate relationship we will have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves. No one hears our hearts the way we do. No one knows our hurts the way we do. We are the sages of our soft spots and our edges. Self-compassion is showing up to that relationship with honesty and with love. – Jamie Ridler
Day 1 – I’m starting by putting an affirmation up on the mirror that I stand in front of each day when I brush my teeth.
Day 2 – Baking myself my favorite muffins. There’s something so wonderful about baking for the pure joy of it. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best cook and sometimes I avoid things that I enjoy because there’s a part of me that hates not being good at things. But today I am all smiles for my wonderfully average muffins! 😄
Day 3 – After a long day in the office draining my brains in spreadsheets rather than dragging my feet to my car I’m choosing to give myself a little dose of happiness by getting upside down. Handstands really can boost your mood! Besides the fact that there’s nothing like a bit of childlike fun… getting upside down helps reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Day 4 – Change what you can’t accept and accept what you can’t change. Today is a complaint free day. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of regularly complaining about the little things in life that sometimes you don’t even realise it. I’m giving my brain some kindness by keeping it positive and if I do catch myself grumbling I’ll take a moment to try and see things from a different perspective. Oh the raw chocolate coyo also helps
Day 5 – Taking some time to appreciate how far I’ve come and the awesome things I’ve achieved. One of the things about yoga that I love is how measurable growth is, you notice it in your physical body and you feel it in your mind. I still remember dreading every time a side plank was called out in class. I always had to drop my bottom knee, would shake like nothing else and som…etimes would just come out of the pose early because I didn’t think I could take anymore. I would watch in awe as other girls would lift their top leg and think that I would never get there. It didn’t happen over night but with dedication and time I got there. It serves as a constant reminder to me that with the right amount of time and effort you can take yourself to places you never dreamed possible. Like my yoga practice figuring out what I want to do with my life and finding something that really resonates with me has taken a lot of time, a lot of trial and error and a bucket load of courage but I am so proud of myself for following my passion and completely changing my life this year. Give yourself a little praise today for the awesome things you’ve achieved on your way ✌
Day 6 – With my first exam tomorrow morning right now what I need from myself is to be a little kinder with the expectations I set for myself. The expectations I set for myself are often much higher than what I would ever expect from anyone else. I often don’t take into consideration my circumstances and the bar is forever high. Today I remind myself that I can only ever do my best and my best is a moving scale, it may not be the same from day to day and that is completely fine.
Day 7 – Sunshine is the best medicine! Cat napping in the winter sun. Getting a sensible amount of sunshine is so good for you. Not only because it assists in the synthesis of vitamin D but it also enhances mood and energy through the release of endorphins, has been found to lower blood pressure through the release of nitric oxide and can actually help you sleep better. 🌞
Day 8 – Taking a moment for some pre exam meditation on the roof top at uni. Whether you’ve got a regular meditation practice or not; taking a few moments out of each day to slow down, take a few deep beaths and ground yourself; is one of best gifts you can give yourself.
Day 9 – Bursting with gratitude! Gratitude has the ability to take what you have and make it enough. Today I’m taking some time to be grateful for a few things that I often take for granted. My last exam is all done and dusted and I am so insanely grateful that in a world where not everyone gets access to a basic education I have the opportunity to study something I love. In a… world where there is so much poverty I am grateful that I can come home and simply open the fridge. I a world with so much sickness I am grateful for my health and happy heart. And most of all I am grateful for my amazingly strong and positive mother and brother who every day inspire me to be my best self and I am grateful for the time I had with my brilliant father all the lessons he taught me all the treasured memories bring such a warmth to my heart.
Day 10 – Getting creative with my class planning. It gives me such a buzz getting right into playing with sequencing. Letting your mind run wild without judgment is such a beautiful thing.
Day 11 – How would you define love? And does that safe definition apply to the way you feel about yourself? Last night in the yoga class I taught I read When I began to love myself by Charlie Chaplin in savasana. As I read through the lines, I was reminded of just how powerful self love is. I truly believe that it can change the lenses that you see life through. With that in mi…nd I wanted to write myself a love letter to remind myself just how wonderful I am in my own eyes. It’s pretty nerve racking and kind of uncomfortable to praise yourself in a big way but I’ve committed myself to no half baked love letters so here goes nothing. You can read my love letter to myself here.
Day 12 – Giving myself permission to take a nap. I often feel guilty about having a nap because I think that I have too many other things that I should be doing but that usually means that sooner or later I hit a bit of burnout. So today I acknowledge that there’s always going to be stuff that needs doing but sometimes I just need to look after what I need in the moment and this moment calls for a nap. 💤
Day 13 – Just a few weeds pulled put this morning. For me there’s something so therapeutic about gardening and I actually can’t remember the last time I made time for it. It drops me into a really calm place and as I pull each weed out I am reminded that just as in life if you don’t get right to the roots of the weed you will forever be trying to remove the same weeds over and over again.
Day 14 – Adopting the pace of nature. In nature nothing is rushed and yet everything is still achieved. There are a few people in my life who truly embrace living at a magical pace. I watch them with fascination as they are move mindfully through life never allowing themselves to be rushed even when other people try to make them. I rush a lot in life and always have multiple things on the go and I know living like that adds unnecessary stress to my life and prevents me from being present in each moment. So today I’m just going to take my time with my day and not put pressure on myself to get a super human amount of things done.
Day 15– Allowing myself to be as I am. Today I feel really flat and pretty miserable. Usually whenever I start to feel like this I try to turn it around, I look for things that will take me away from that unwanted feeling that life isn’t as bright as it normally is. I often try and tell myself that losing my father isn’t that bad and remind myself that other people have it far …worse but the reality is that by doing that I’m denying myself the right to grieve. I have every right to feel miserable about losing my father unexpectedly and while yes worse things do happen to other people that doesn’t take away my right to heartache. Today I’m not trying to avoid how I truly feel. I’m giving myself permission to be devastated and allowing myself to feel what I need to feel. I spend so much energy priding myself on staying strong and keeping it together but it’s actually taken so much more courage to allow myself to fall apart and when I worry about how I’m going to put myself back together I remind myself that I have a 100% success rate thus far.
Day 16 – Getting up with the sun and moving to the rhythm of your soul is a truly beautiful thing to do for yourself. I love the stillness and silence of the early morning. There’s a special kind of magic about it. Starting my day with yoga sets the mood for my day; to move through each moment with intention, focus and ease. Whatever the day brings I’m grateful for the magical beginning I gave myself.
Day 17 – Post yoga bubble bath with a little lavender oil, some delicious chocolate and a magical tea. I’m simply floating in my own little bliss bubble tonight. Taking some time out to disconnect in order to reconnect.
Day 18 – Getting help. I have no problem getting professional help when I get physically sick but I’ve been really surprised about how uncomfortable I’ve felt getting professional help to work through everything that’s in my mind lately. I’ve been tormented by all the terrible things I saw in my dad’s last few days of life and still not know how my dad died has been getting har…der not easier to live with, it leaves me questioning everything that happened in the lead up to this passing. I’m only now coming to recognise that what I experienced was truma and today after a week of agonising about getting help I’m finally getting myself the help I need.
Day 19 – Cleaning up and decluttering. How I keep my space is often a reflection of how I’m doing. When my space gets messy my head tends to go the same way or maybe it’s when my head gets messy I let my space get crazy, either way I always feel so much better when I take the time to clean up and declutter a bit. When I’m feeling average cleaning up is usually the last thing I care about but over time I’ve come to appreciate just how much living in a mess affects my head space. It’s a small thing that brings me a lot of calm and peace of mind. Today this messy little human got sorted.
Day 20 – Discerning what I need. We all face times where we need to choose between what we want and what we need. And then there are those times that want we need isn’t obvious until the universe jumps in and smacks us in the face. In my yoga practice I almost always want a strong yang class; I love being pushed to my edge and working really hard. It wasn’t until a class this …week where I pulled up extremely sore that I realised just how much I demand from myself in my practice. It’s a true reflection of how I treat myself off the mat; always expecting myself to give and be more than is reasonable. Over the last two days I’ve sort out classes that encourage me to slow down, land whole heartedly in poses and bring kindness into my practice. I observe every day how people’s behavior on their mat translates into how they live their lives but only today did I really appreciate my own way of being. Without beating up on myself I simply offer myself a new way and embrace the things I need.
Day 21 – Making time for a little fun and a bucket load of laughs. When did you last make time for fun. It’s easy to lose that child like sense of joy, freedom and enthusiasm. It’s easy to make excuses about being too busy for such nonsense but when you think you don’t have the time that’s usually when you need fun the most. This dose of silly fun was well overdue.
Day 22 – Post float bliss. Feeling all sorts of wonderful after 1 hour of floating in the aptly named dream tank at Elevation Floatation. With no external stimuli and the buoyant magic of epsom salt you drift into your parasympathetic nervous system lowering your production of adrenaline and cortisol. Taking an hour out of my day to let all the background noise fade away and just be at ease has been the perfect medicine.
Day 23 – Sometimes you just need to get right out of town and create your own adventure. Taking myself on a little road trip up the coast just because I can. I’m super excited to retrace a trip I took maybe times as I child and have not been on for over 20 years. Today I’m taking myself where my soul wants to go 👣
Day 24 – Staying active. Morning walks on the beach are such a treat for me, living far away from the sea I relish in the opportunity to stroll by the crashing waves. There is so much research showing that not getting enough exercise is detrimental to our physical and mental health. Our bodies are designed to move, in fact they love to move and sometimes it’s just a matter of f…inding the style of movement that resonates with you the most. Whether you run, walk, swim, do yoga, hit the gym, play a team sport or do your own awesome form of movement it’s important that it’s a regular thing. There should never be not enough time for your health. Love your body and live well.
Day 25 – Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term that means taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing. It’s an amazing form of therapy to wander around in nature and really take it in. So simple yet so calming and rejuvenating.
You know what they say the best things in life are free 😉🌳
Day 26 – Making time for something that I love. Wandering around the Paddington Markets. I love nothing more than aimlessly wondering around a market looking at anything and everything.
Day 27 – Being real about how I feel and what I want. I often shy away from communicating how I really feel and what I want but today I’m keeping it real.
Day 28 – Leaning on my besties shoulder. Because we all need somebody to lean on and I couldn’t do it without all the amazing people in my life who hold the space for me and are always there to see me through to sunny days. To all the amazing people who’ve done big and small things to support me thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Day 29 – what a way to welcome in spring with a morning run along and a whole new look with my new short hair! Spring is the season for change and new growth. We often make ourselves suffer by wishing for realities other than our own or being unwilling to accept change. I cut my crazy long hair for two reasons one because I’d been thing about it for ages and decided that I shou…ldn’t waste anymore time worrying about missing my long hair and two because every time I see myself in the mirror I am reminded that my life doesn’t look the same anymore but the new normal can still be wonderful just different. Take risks, make changes, do the things you’ve always wanted to do because life won’t wait for you to be ready. In fact I think you never really are ready! ✌
Day 30 – Simple yet powerful words from the amazing Emeli Paulo from collective potential. Give yourself permission to be who you are and to go after your dreams! Yes that’s right give yourself permission to let go of all the things that hold you back from being real! Say it out load! I’m aloud! How often do you tell yourself no, hold back from expressing your true feelings be…cause of fear or make choices based on other people’s expectations! Today as a look back over my 30 days I know the kindest thing I can do for myself is to simply own who I am and give myself permission to live from my heart.
I’m aloud to be messy and complicated, I’m aloud to be uncertain and lost, I’m aloud to cry uncontrollably, I’m aloud to need help, I’m aloud to excel and shine, I’m aloud to be different and unconventional, I’m aloud to speak my truth, I’m aloud to put my needs first and I’m aloud to take my time