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The Kindness Cure

By Ashley Reichel, Health Coach

I have spent a lot of time lately feeling defeated, tired, and anxious. And in these troubling times we are currently living in, I feel that many are experiencing the same and more. The struggles of everyday life are only magnified by living through a global pandemic, but what continues to resonate for me right now is the thought of compassion and kindness. In times of turmoil, is even a little kindness and self-awareness a beginning to healing what feels broken? Can we not only survive, but also thrive in such unpredictable times?

When so much is uncertain and out of our control, we can still control how we treat not only others, but also ourselves. We may not know for sure how a single day will go or how we will feel or handle our emotions on these given days, but kindness just may be the key. It may be the missing link that some of us need to heal our health, our relationships, and our hearts while surviving, even thriving, in difficult times.

For myself, I have seen and felt a lot of anxiety and frustration exist in what I call my pandemic life; this life still does not seem normal or real to me! This frustration often leads to guilt, and in turn a sense of disappointment and anger has settled upon me, affecting the way I treat myself and handle challenge in my life. I typically thrive on all things wellness, but it has been hard for me to practice wellness with my usual vigor, and for that I feel guilt. I have been stressed and scared, and that often leads to impatience with myself and others, and for that I also feel guilt. I have, however, reached a point where I know I don’t want to feel this weight any more. Though I think it is so important to show kindness to others right now, I also think we need the reminder to also show kindness to ourselves….

Especially now when keeping ourselves healthy is so important, we need to be kind to our bodies and how we view them. Stress and can lead us to over eat or under eat, or to simply not care. Either way, we need to practice kindness and accept that the imperfections are what make us all human and real. It may be hard right now to feel like nourishing our bodies with healthy foods, but the effect of fueling our bodies with proper nutrition, and moving in ways that will make us feel good, will ultimately give us physical and mental strength to handle the less than ideal situations we may find ourselves in.

We also need to be kind to our emotions, and trust in ourselves and our abilities to overcome challenge. It is ok to feel down and defeated, to feel scared and uncertain. It is also ok to, at the same time, feel happy and strong, and like we can take on anything! It’s also absolutely ok to alternate these emotions frequently, and feel just a little crazy for it. Embrace your ability to feel and know that it is very healthy to express how we are feeling, even if it doesn’t always feel “good.” I think it has never been more important to share your feelings with others and accept emotional help when it is offered.

I have never felt more isolated, yet also so aware of the common hardship. Everyone has “stuff” challenging them right now, and big or small it is being magnified by the unprecedented times we are living in. I truly think practicing kindness and patience for the uncertainty we all share can and hopefully will heal our lives a bit. I am by no means perfect, but I have come to the realization that I need to practice what I preach. It is my hope for myself, and for those reading this, that we can view kindness as a tool to deflect the negativity we may feel for ourselves, for others, and the situations far beyond our control.

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