Today is World Kindness Day, a chance to take stock of the kindness you show not only to the people around you, but to yourself as well. This year, we’re focusing on ways we practice self-kindness at Two Chairs, and what it looks like on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
We asked members of our operations and clinical teams to share their self-kindness definitions and techniques, and they shared some of their tips for staying kind and emotionally balanced amidst the daily stress of life. Read more below!
Christina Watkins, LCSW — Therapist at Two Chairs Soma: Self-kindness means treating myself with the same compassion and patience I do others while also holding myself accountable to act in ways that protect and improve my physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual health. I practice self-kindness by allowing myself to be human — which means I’m not perfect and also have needs! I allow myself to feel my feelings, not always get things right, make time for joy, set boundaries, remind myself I can’t do it all and that productivity does not determine my value.
On a daily basis, self-kindness looks like trying to catch myself and change course when I’m holding myself to standards that are impossible to achieve or are actually society’s values and not my own. It can also mean going to bed on time, not grabbing my phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night, connecting with my partner and other loved ones, listening to music I love, treating others with compassion, moving my body, checking in with my breath, and allowing myself time each day to not be productive.
Megan Weir — People Operations: As an introvert with a high degree of empathy working in people operations, I have found that the greatest self-kindness gift is setting boundaries and being okay with saying “no”. For example, I rarely make commitments on Sundays because I’ve found that I need that day to recoup after a usually busy week. By keeping Sunday open, I’m able to give myself what my body needs that day; activities range from yoga, long walks with my pup, cooking meals for the week, ordering take-out and watching a movie, to catching up with loved ones.
Jessie Baum, PsyD — Therapist at Two Chairs Sansome: I try to cultivate a regular lifestyle of self-kindness by way of increasing self-compassion, staying mindfully present in the here-and-now, protecting my personal boundaries and life/work balance, and engaging in regular pleasant activities that I enjoy and find fulfilling. I try to stay attuned to what my mind and body need and give myself the space to prioritize and enact on those things.
I practice self-kindness as if it were a daily vitamin — an important part of a balanced approach to maintaining well-being. Our worlds can quickly become very stressful and demanding, so I try to fortify myself with self-awareness, staying true to my values, celebrating my strengths, learning from my mistakes, and surrounding myself with supportive people. Self-kindness exists moment-to-moment or perhaps at the start and end of my day. I might choose to set an intention for myself in the mornings, reminding myself throughout the day that all of us have imperfections and that’s okay. I might take a bubble bath at the end of a long day, or get tea with a friend between appointments, or go for an invigorating run. Self-kindness can look like many activities, but at the heart of it, self-kindness is embracing and nurturing my humanness.
Zach Alden — Care Coordinator: I practice self-kindness in small ways. I take moments throughout the day to pause and completely stop what I’m doing and take a moment to register where I am. I take a few deep breaths then proceed with what I’m doing. I view this as practicing self-kindness because the least we can do for ourselves is acknowledge that there is always a choice, a choice to stop, opt-out for a brief moment. I don’t know if this actually helps, because the pain and distress never really goes away, but you at least acknowledge its independence, separateness from you.
To me, self-kindness means respecting yourself. If you can respect yourself, you can tender sincere respect for others. Self-kindness is a form of self-respect, but is not always easy to practice.
Emily Iverson — Brand Marketing: I practice self-kindness by finding small moments to be mindful throughout the day. When my brain is working a mile per minute and I’m particularly busy, pausing for a moment of mindfulness can make my day a whole lot better. I do this by scheduling meditation or mindful breaths into my day, and sometimes even put it into my calendar so that I don’t forget to take the time. Being proactive about taking mindful breaks is one of the kindest things I can do for myself.
Nami Doshi, PhD — Therapist at Two Chairs Sansome: For me, self-kindness means taking care of yourself in all ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally. My approach to self-kindness can vary day-to-day, but one minor way I practice this daily is by lighting my favorite scented candles and incense sticks all over my home. Lighting candles doesn’t just soothe my senses, it also helps me transition to “me time” and creates a serene space that feels sacred to me. It is important to care for myself in some way every day because it feels restorative and allows me to reset after a long day.
Whether it’s a brief breathing exercise during a busy day, being aware of your thought patterns, or going on a run, there are many ways to show yourself kindness and compassion during big or small moments. Today, individually and as a team, we’re sitting with the idea that we’re all capable of self-kindness, and that our ability to practice it is imperative for us to pass it along to others.
If you or someone you know is seeking mental health care, you can reach out to our Care Coordination team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415.202.5159.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency or crisis and needs immediate help, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Additional resources can be found here.