"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses World Kindness Day on Monday, 13th November and the small changes we can make to be kinder to ourselves.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
The month of November is most widely recognised for ‘Movember’, where men take pride in growing (often not very good looking) moustaches to increase awareness for men’s mental health. Now while this is incredibly important, I would like to draw your attention to something a little less known, more specifically, World Kindness Day, celebrated this year on Monday, the 13th of November.
Often, we consider kindness as something that we share with others, almost like a commodity that is traded or becomes the star of an Instagram feed. But what if we flipped it into something that we did not prioritise sharing on socials, or with others. What if, kindness was celebrated this year, as something that we showed towards ourselves?
Too often, I hear the way people refer to themselves or their thoughts in an unkind and uncompassionate way. Berating themselves with a fierce barrage of scathing attacks that slowly erodes their confidence, their self-esteem, and their ability to follow their dreams and back themselves. Sometimes, their unkindness spirals from ruminating thoughts about what they could or should have done, to comparing themselves to others. Their haves and have nots, fears for their future or a lack of belief in being able to create the future that they want for themselves or their family.
Changing this negative self-talk takes time, motivation, and daily practice. But there is something that you can do today that will set the wheels in motion.
The irresistible urge to reach for our devices has become an integral part of our waking ritual, almost as instinctual as the cup of coffee. In effect, we are handing over the remote control to our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to someone else from the time we open our eyes.
But there is another way. Tonight, I encourage you to take your phone into a room other than where you sleep to charge it. Put your notifications onto silent. Okay, enough with the eyerolling - stay with me. Instead of turning over in the morning to check your phone, consider using the first eight minutes of your day to sit quietly and set your intention for the day. Imagine what this intention, this thing, looks like, feels like, sounds like. What thoughts come up for you when you imagine it happening for you.
Creating time and space for ourselves to imagine what is possible before we get interrupted by life – that is the pinnacle of kindness towards self. Visualising our hopes, aspirations, ambitions, and dreams first up in the morning and then allowing them to gradually grow and manifest from dreams to reality.
There are lots of excuses we can make about why we can’t do this. My challenge to you is to instead put time and energy into thinking about all the ways that you can. I promise you that it is worth it. Personally, my miracle morning practice has left me feeling more grounded, more focused, and notably less stressed. By taking control of the beginning of my day, I set a more positive and intentional tone for what follows.
So, this World Kindness Day, I challenge you to do this one thing for yourself. Break free from the habitual morning phone check, reclaim your mornings, and take back control of your life. The positive difference it could make may just surprise you.