The first five days of my challenge to do one kind act for someone else and one kind act towards myself each day has been interesting.
I made my partner breakfast, baked my neurobiofeedback counsellor cookies, wrote my mom a letter of thanks and gave my mother-in-law a book. I’m still deciding what to do today, but I think I’m going to mail a book to a friend.
Where I’m struggling is doing nice things for myself. On January 1, I let myself read for hours without feeling guilty about not doing anything productive. That was awesome.
Next day, I went to bed early to read. Okay. Not a great act of kindness, but something.
Wednesday, I decided to go to bed to sleep at 9:30 p.m. But then my partner had some car troubles. I got out of bed and didn’t get back in until after midnight. Last night, I’d planned on popping my pjs in the dryer for a few before tucking in, but by the time it was close to bed I was just too exhausted to go downstairs, come back up to wait, then go back down to get them; I just wanted to go straight to bed.
My lesson from this week is that I need to find kind things to do for myself earlier in the day. I need to make them a priority so I don’t bump them. However, I’m struggling a bit in finding kind things to do for myself that don’t involve spending money.
In 2018, I’m going to do one kind thing each day for someone else and one kind thing each day for myself.
There are a few reasons.
First, I’ve realized that relationships are one of my highest values, so I want to spend more time focusing on them. A few of my 2018 goals reflect this, but I wanted to do something bigger. Spreading love through small, daily acts seemed like that something bigger I was looking for.
Second, 2017 sucked. I lost a lot of the faith I had in humanity. I let go of a few friendships because of the way they backed right off after my car accident and I’ve struggled to not be bitter about the friends who weren’t there at all but who are still in my life. A lot of my feelings are totally valid and I do need to re-evaluate how much I put into relationships and how much I get back. But my desire to pull back from everyone and refuse to support those who haven’t supported me has been kind of scary. That’s just not me. I’m hoping that spending a year consciously being kind to others and to myself will help me work through some of these feelings somehow.
Third, I’ve decided (for the 1,000th time) to give quitting drinking a serious go. While I’ve managed to stay sober for months at a time in the past, I’ve never stayed sober permanently. I feel a project like this will help give me something to focus on as I tackle my drinking problem, once and for all. This isn’t something I’m terribly comfortable discussing publicly at length, yet.
What will it look like?
I’ve set some rules up for myself.
- Stitching Hearts projects don’t count because I’d be doing those anyways.
- If I decide to do something kind that takes multiple days (such as knitting someone a scarf), it will only count for one day.
- If I miss a day, the act of kindness towards myself will be forgiveness without making a big deal of it.
I’ll send postcards to friends, plan parties for loved ones and buy strangers’ coffee. I’ll take hot baths, spend afternoons reading in coffee shops and cook delicious meals for one.
Watch my blog for daily to weekly updates on how it’s going.
After the car accident in late February that left me with a concussion, I had to focus on my own health. I have never in my life been so self-centred and self-involved. And I had to be. I don’t regret it. At times, doing anything other than listening to podcasts and mindlessly knitting set me back in the recovery process.
But as my brain came more and more out of the fog, I became incredibly self-conscious of how selfish I’d been.
Helping others is a big part of who I am. It gets me out of my own head and makes me feel like I’m contributing positively to the world, even when I’m too anxious to leave my home. Through Cockroach’s Stitching Hearts project–which I created and continue to run–I can even do creative things that I have a lot of fun with, which benefits me as well as others.
And just the act of doing something kind for someone else makes me feel less anxious and depressed.
A recent article by Amy Ellis Nutt, she writes about a study that showed anxious college students avoided social situations less when they consciously committed several acts of kindness per week.
In my weekly newsletter, I’ve been challenging people to strive to change one thing in their life each month (drink more water, eat more produce, connect with friends). In the next few months, I’ll be challenging everyone to find a few more ways to spread love. Join my list now to get weekly motivations for creatives who struggle with their mental health and to get in on the challenge.
Or join my Stitching Hearts group on Facebook where I’ll share the latest info about the helpful projects we’re working on, and offer support and inspiration to other members.