100+ Acts of Self Kindness

100+ Acts of Self Kindness

Step two in spreading kindness throughout the world in 2017 is performing one act of self kindness (aka self care) each week. Yesterday we discussed acts of kindness that we can perform for others. Today it’s time to focus on ourselves.

Before we get into the list of possible acts of self kindness, let me tell you a quick story about my life.

For years, whenever I’d fly, I’d hear the flight attendant say that if the oxygen masks were activated that we should put on our own oxygen masks before helping others and I thought this was the dumbest advice. Why would anyone leave their child without oxygen, even for a second, I always wondered. It sounded selfish to me. Of course, I would help someone before I helped myself. That’s just how I lived my life.

Fast forward to about five years ago. I was functioning, sort of, but was a wreck on the inside. Forty years of putting everyone else first and myself last came crashing in on me and I was a mess. I went into therapy and my therapist said if I wasn’t taking care of myself, there was no way I could take care of anyone else.

I’m pretty certain the lightbulb that went on over my head was so bright it could light my entire town all night. I finally understood the whole idea about putting my oxygen mask on first and I slowly began to practice acts of self kindness or self care. I still struggle with putting myself first, but I’m much healthier today for making the conscious effort to be kind to myself. You’ll be better off too.

The list of possible acts of self kindness is endless, but to get you started, I’ve listed 100 of my favorite acts of self kindness below. I’d love to hear what acts you perform in the comments.

  1. Go to bed an hour early.
  2. Eat healthy.
  3. But yourself flowers.
  4. Write yourself a love note.
  5. Forgive yourself for something you beat yourself up about.
  6. Get a massage.
  7. Get a manicure and/or pedicure.
  8. Go for a walk.
  9. Exercise.
  10. Drink 64 oz of water.
  11. Take your full lunch break away from your desk.
  12. Read a book. 
  13. Turn off the tv and do something else. 
  14. Pursue a hobby you’ve let go.
  15. Grab coffee with a friend.
  16. Get your annual physical and any tests including a mammogram, etc.
  17. Visit your dentist twice a year for your semi-annual cleaning.
  18. Create a gratitude journal. Try these tips to get you started.
  19. Participate in a 52-week money saving challenge. Save $1,378 using this method. (Want to save more? Try doubling or tripling your weekly contribution.) Here’s an easy challenge for young kids.
  20. Pay off your debt. Try one of these 11 strategies. I used strategy #2 and it was easy. Once you get out of debt, I recommend putting the total monthly debt payment into savings. You’ve been living without this money because you’ve used it to pay off debt, so you know you don’t need it for today’s expenses.
  21. Create a budget and stick to it. The only way to do this is to document it. I use a completely un-fancy Excel spreadsheet that works for me.
  22. Meditate.
  23. Be fully present.
  24. Hire a cleaning lady.
  25. Take a nap.
  26. Take a social media hiatus. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but I know a lot of people who take social media breaks while on vacation, during extra stressful times in their lives, and just because. Try it for 24 hours. Let me know how it goes after its done.
  27. Turn off ALL electronics for 24 hours. You might want to participate in the National Day of Unplugging. Read about my experiences here and here.
  28. Have sex alone or with someone who curls your toes. 
  29. Take a bubble bath. 
  30. Have dinner by candlelight.
  31. Enjoy dinner on the good dishes. 
  32. Wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks.
  33. Go on a picnic. 
  34. Learn your love language and share it with your partner.
  35. Listen to music that speaks to your soul. 
  36. Make a mix playlist of music that inspires you. Put it on your phone or iPod and listen to it regularly, especially in the car. This is my list.
  37. Sing.
  38. Dance.
  39. Play an instrument. 
  40. Watch the sunset or sunrise.
  41. Build a pillow fort.
  42. Snuggle with your pets. 
  43. Give yourself a 30-minute timeout. 
  44. Swing on a swing.
  45. Color. Print out some of these free coloring pages.
  46. Take any medications and vitamins daily and on-time.
  47. Plan a special date night for you and your significant other without your kids and unrelated to birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Dress up for each other. If possible, spend the night in a hotel so you can reconnect without the distractions of home. Be fully present. Bonus points if you can take an entire weekend. Involve your partner in the planning. (Extra bonus: Counts as kindness towards your partner and self-care).
  48. Start a happiness box where you save special notes or cards that you receive that lift you up. Includ inspirational quotes, photos, or anything that brings you joy. Make the box special by decorating it or choosing a container that reflects the specialness of its contacts. Refer to it often. 
  49. Start laughing and build up to a full guttural bellyaching laugh. 
  50. Fix something small that annoys you. 
  51. Take 10 deep breaths. Learn how here.
  52. Go outside and bask in the sun for 15 minutes (but wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen). 
  53. Play I Spy looking only for things that you find beautiful. I modify this game to play it solo by simply saying “I spy tulips” to myself when I see tulips, etc. This can be done anywhere, anytime.
  54. Celebrate little wins as well as big ones. 
  55. Walk barefoot in the grass.
  56. Learn something new.
  57. Ask someone to teach you how to make their “signature dish.” 
  58. Do not set your alarm on a day off.
  59. Make yourself a cup of tea.
  60. Write in your journal.
  61. Go to church.
  62. Listen to an inspirational podcast. I really like Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Bonus: Her books are fabulous too.
  63. Be a tourist in your own town for a day. 
  64. Take yourself out to lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurant. 
  65. Make your favorite meal. 
  66. Pack your lunch for work and write yourself an inspirational note that you’ll find at lunch.
  67. Watch your favorite movie.
  68. Go to therapy.
  69. Try acupuncture. I did it and loved it.
  70. Watch adorable animal videos on YouTube for 15 minutes.
  71. Create a Zentangle. This is mine.
  72. Attend an AA or other support group meeting.
  73. Make grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. Comfort food is healing. 
  74. Create post-it notes with inspiring phrases and leave them around your home.
  75. Where is the place you feel happiest or is your safe place? Place a reminder of it (e.g. photo) in your work office where you can see it regularly. 
  76. Learn a new board game. I recently played Dungeons & Dragons for the first time and will be learning chess this weekend.
  77. Have kids with toys? Spend an hour playing with their toys. Just you, no kids. 
  78. Live near water? Go sit by it, kayak, canoe, or swim in it.
  79. Actually stop and smell the roses (or other flowers). 
  80. Stargaze. Contemplate our place in the universe. Check out this calendar of astronomy events in 2017.
  81. Learn to fully accept compliments and not downplay your contributions.
  82. Skip rocks.
  83. Jump in a puddle.
  84. Build a snowman.
  85. Make a snow angel or sand angel.
  86. Build a sand castle.
  87. Go fishing.
  88. Overcome a fear.
  89. Spend a day at King Spa.
  90. Stop “should-ing” all over yourself. 
  91. Declutter. Start with one closet, dresser, or small room like the bathroom.
  92. Achieve and maintain Inbox Zero.
  93. Let go of busy.
  94. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing ourselves to others only serves to make us miserable because there is always someone out there whose life appears better than our own. The thing is though, life isn’t a competition. We’re each in the place we need to be at this moment. It’s also important to remember, that things aren’t always what they seem and even the people who appear to be the most together have things in their life their life they are unhappy with.
  95. Unsubscribe to unwanted marketing emails.
  96. Unsubscribe to junk mail. I have used the PaperKarma app with mixed success. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s tips for unsubscribing to all kinds of unwanted mail.
  97. Honor your truth and values. 
  98. Advocate for yourself
  99. Take a yoga class.
  100. Make your bed.
  101. Participate in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I did it a couple of years ago and it was terrific.
  102. Watch this great TedTalk about kindness by Lauren Hug and follow her on Twitter.
  103. Stop multitasking. Science says that multitasking is ineffective and may damage your brain. Believe the science.
  104. Wear a Kindness Bracelet to remind yourself of your acts of kindness and others acts of kindness to you.
  105. Make some origami.
  106. Knit or needlepoint.
  107. Stay home from work or school when you’re sick. (Bonus: This is an act of kindness for your classmates and coworkers too.)

Check out all of my #Kindness2017 blog posts here.

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    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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