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Care about Self-Care this World Kindness Day

November 13, 2016

On November 13 we celebrate World Kindness Day, an internationally recognized day that encourages us to look beyond barriers that may divide us and find global unity through kindness.

As a national voice for victims of domestic violence and their advocates, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) encourages extending kindness and compassion to all, starting with yourself, through the practice of self-care.

By showing kindness to yourself, you expand your capacity to be kind to others. As Laura van Dernoot Lipsky explains, “Taking care of ourselves while taking care of others allows us to contribute to our society with such impact that we will leave a legacy informed by our deepest wisdom and greatest gifts instead of burdened with our struggles and despairs.”

Self-care is a key ingredient to practicing kindness toward others and sustains our ability to help others. Eleanor Brownn explains, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” To engage in self-care means intentionally nurturing your mental, physical, emotional, and social health. This practice looks different for everyone and could include writing in a journal, meditating, reaching out to a friend, taking a bath, going for a walk, tidying your home, reading, and more.

Studies also show that being kind to others encourages happiness in ourselves. This is known as a positive feedback loop between kindness and happiness. One study’s primary researcher explains, “The practical implications of this positive feedback loop could be that engaging in one kind deed (e.g., taking your mom to lunch) would make you happier, and the happier you feel, the more likely you are to do another kind act.”

This World Kindness Day – and beyond – be good to yourself and others.