How do you practice self-kindness?
As a leader, you are under extraordinary pressure to do more with less, which often impacts your well-being and tolerance levels. You must stay physically and mentally healthy if you’re expected to cultivate kindness for your team members; that’s why self-care is more important than ever today.
Proper self-kindness includes regular exercise, eating well, and getting enough rest. It’s also essential to develop supportive relationships and carve out time for outside personal interests.
When this topic comes up in my coaching sessions, we discuss different strategies to foster self-care and kindness. First, we need to recognize the hard stuff. Here are two important questions to consider:
- In what ways has life become more challenging?
- What is the current state of your social ties?
I recommend that you give both of these questions serious consideration and write out your answers in the journal you’ve started from my previous message. (You did start that kindness journal, didn’t you?)
Self-kindness requires practice and effort, like training a muscle. Here are four ways to boost your self-kindness.
Booster #1: Think of times when you felt a strong connection with someone—a meaningful conversation; a shared success or loss—and journal about the experience. This exercise will reinforce your sense of connection, and satisfy that human need to belong.
Booster #2: Recognize ways life has improved for you: have you been able to spend more time with family? Explored or developed different interests? What about greater understanding of different perspectives, beliefs, or opinions?
Booster #3: Reinforce your self-worth. Honor who you are, and act with authenticity. Exercise your power to choose, especially when it comes to attitude.
Booster #4: Tackle the hard stuff. Prioritize strengthening your social ties. For example, if your exercise includes walking outside, consider walking with a partner instead of alone. If you already engage in this activity, extend your time by five minutes, slow your speed, and allow time to stop and notice. Take a photo, make a mental note, or even write down any thoughts and feelings that may come up for you at the time.
According to researcher and psychologist Dacher Keltner, our health relies on being part of a strong community. Our happiness improves when we enjoy things with other people. When in your own experience have you noticed this to be true in your life? Keep note of them in your journal, and when you feel lacking in either, check-in with yourself and see if you’ve strayed from your community lately.
Leaders who practice self-kindness accept reality with sympathy, achieve emotional stability, and build greater resilience. They reinforce their self-worth and extend kindness to others. You can cultivate this skill in yourself and use it to inspire others in your own life to spread kindness too!