You could say that 2017 was a bit of a gloomy year for most of us - it was the year of the Harvey Weinstein debacle, the year Ed Westwick officially ruined Chuck Bass, the year of the Manchester attacks, the year of escalating Nuclear War over Twitter and a whole lot of political uncertainty here in the UK. Like every year, we look to the new year to be "better than the last". Though there's only so much we can do on a national or political level, If you're hoping for a more positive 2018, here are some small ways to be kind in 2018.
1. Self Care
Let's start with you. Use the new year to be kind to yourself - whether that's something as basic and important as getting up every morning and brushing your teeth, or finding ways to be nicer to yourself inside your head. Try Aloe for gentle, reminders for everyday self care, try thinking one positive thought about yourself every day, or maybe even just by not setting yourself self-critical resolutions that you can use to punish yourself when you fail in a few weeks. Most people are far more unkind to themselves inside their heads than they would ever be to another human being - so why not try this year to be kinder to your brain.
2. Little Reminders
I created my Illustrated Affirmations prints to serve as little self care reminders to be thoughtful and kind to yourself and to others. Hang them in a workspace or by your mirror, or send them to a friend to show you're thinking of them. Sometimes a positive affirmation, a little mantra, can be a great reminder to keep with you when days are tricky, or self doubt creeps in.
3. Reach Out To People You Appreciate
This means a lot to me as a small business, but it actually clicked with me a lot when I read a post on reddit chatting about the best roommates people ever had, especially this thread. I think sometimes we can hesitate to tell people we appreciate them or what they do, for fear of people thinking you're weird - but there is no better way to put out those postive vibes/karma/juju/whatever you believe in. I can't tell you how happy it makes me every time someone takes the time to reach out to tell me how much they liked my blog post, or how happy they are with one of my products, or leaves a glowing review, or even just tagging me in their excited insta posts.
4. Think Before You Speak
Anyone else find themselves blurting out the most stupid stuff sometimes and then obsess over it in the quiet moments before you fall asleep for the rest of your goddamn life? Be kinder to others (and your brain) by trying to take a moment to think before you speak. I'm hoping to take 5 before tweeting annoyed tweets, taking my irritations out on the delivery driver or the customer service rep, and think before I make silly jokes that could hurt my friends or loved ones. I'd like to think that I don't do these things too often, but doing it less, in general, can hardly be a bad thing.
5. Pause to Be Grateful
The ever-fabulous Charlotte from Betty Magazine posted a simple, contemplative post on insta the other day which has stuck with me, and I want to make it a theme for this year of kindness. I'm sure our millenial-ness and our constant connection to the rest of the world online has made it easier to subject ourselves to the keeping-up-with-the-joneses effect. I've watched people my age (and younger than me) get engaged, buy houses, drive cards and start families in the past years, and it can be very easy to spend time thinking about what you don't have. But this little post made me realise that it's important to feel grateful for my happy little flat that I share with Martin, my cosy bed, and a big pile of selection box biscuits leftover from Christmas. As well as the important things like friendship, love, health, I think it's nice to be grateful for the little things, too.
6. Care for Things
In the spirit of a kinder year - as well as being kind to other people, perhaps you could turn some kindness on other living things, too. As cheesy as it sound, nurturing a succulent to blooming, rescuing a tired bee with a sip of sugar syrup, or making a meat-free meal once a week is sure to be good for your soul, and put some good vibes out into the ether. I've waxed lyrical many times about why you should keep plants, and I really do think there's something to be said for caring and loving something and seeing the fruits of your labour rewarded. If you're not sure what to start with - here are a few of my favourite house plants. If you're a bit of a plant killer, try starting with something simple like a succulent.
Here's to a kinder 2018, with better vibes!