I am on a mission. A mission to show kindness to myself, and consequently others. I have discussed this in a previous blog post, but now I want to put this commitment out to the world and cement it in a declaration.
I devote this solitude and time indoors to creating and practising habits of kindness towards myself. – Amy Hu, March 2020
I’ve recognised before that there are three main themes that make me disappointed in myself and can trigger anxiety:
- The thought that I’ve let someone else down by any inconvenience or their (perceived) expectations of me
- That I’ve let myself down by procrastinating from what I planned
- When I haven’t stood up for my own needs
The first one (and the third) mostly only occur when I’m in the vicinity of other people. Now that we are social distancing, it’s created a unique opportunity to tackle my negative self-talk. Especially that related to how I think others see me or “the projection of my core beliefs onto others” – my psychologist. Since I’m now barely interacting with anyone physically, it creates space from some of my usual triggers.
Disclaimer: I am not trying to disregard the hardship that millions are feeling globally from COVID-19. I acknowledge my privilege. The privilege that I have a safe home and the financial means that allow me the mental capacity to focus on this.
I don’t have an exact plan on how to create these habits yet, but as a starting point, here are some self-soothing activities that make a difference to my mood:
- Drink water. Just that pause to rehydrate myself is refreshing.
- Morning yoga or stretch. Yoga with Adriene is my go-to. But also forgiving myself if I sleep in and can’t make it work that day.
- Going for a walk (if you are permitted) and practising gratitude. Or even opening a window and looking out. Appreciating nature is a restful break to constantly being on screens.
- Apply body lotion. This might sound silly, and it’s the only non-free option, but hopefully you have access to a basic under-$5 one. Applying body lotion after a shower is the definition of ‘self-soothing’ in my eyes. I even include a gentle massage with it. It’s the physical action of showing myself a little extra love.
- Listen to my favourite music and smile. Really listen. Listen to the harmonies and that secondary guitar riff that sneaks up in the bridge. I close my eyes and feel the melodies flow through my body. And if I’m up for it, I add a little boogie. I usually go for the “pretend you’re a pop star on stage” schtick. And yes, this whole time I’m referring to Taylor Swift – my jam.
I don’t promise all the answers to self kindness. If I had already figured that out, then I wouldn’t be here writing this. My next step is to read a book I’ve had on my shelf for weeks: The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi. Maybe this will give me a road map for my mission, maybe it won’t. Stay tuned.