INTERNATIONAL KINDNESS DAY: Be Kind To Yourself
This international kindness day Zebedee wants to celebrate the reasons why we are kind to ourselves. Being kind to yourself is not something one often thinks about or focuses on, yet it is one of the most important things a person can do for their mental wellbeing. We need enjoyment to enrich our lives, whether that be through rest and relaxation or excitement and passion.
Zebedee believes acceptance and inclusion are important on this international kindness day. We have brought together eight women from different walks of life, with different disabilities and visible differences to showcase how they are kind to themselves through a series of beautiful images. Being kind to ourselves allows us to shine brighter.
Photos by Elise Dumontet.
Full gallery follows the interviews.
Aged 26 from Sheffield
Sophie is a wheelchair user due to a spinal injury. She plays wheelchair basketball for the national team
I’m kind to myself by always giving myself time to relax, whether that’s snuggled up in a blanket watching tv or doing something I love like going out for dinner. Those times to rest are so important, especially as being an athlete I need to give my body time to recover.
Aged 25 lives in North Yorkshire.
Lost her leg due to bone cancer now works for the Children’s Cancer Trust to help others going through a similar illness.
I am kind to myself by doing what I love best, taking photos with my polaroid camera! Wherever I go, I take my camera, so I never miss a fab photo opportunity.
I am kind to myself by wearing a high heel. Unfortunately I can't wear a pair anymore with 1 leg and a prosthetic to contend with, however just popping one on every now and again can instantly make me feel happy and confident in my own skin.
Aged 21 from Nottinghamshire
Georgina has always been interested in performing and has attended both dance and drama schools for a combined 13 years. She has taken part in a number of local performances and has worked in the acting business for educational videos. She has a chronic illness called CFS/ME which means she users a wheelchair.
I’m kind to my body by listening to what it needs, resting when it tells me too, giving it time & proper fuel/nourishment and trying to soothe my body when it flares. But I also make sure to make the moments count when I can and do things that I love which in return helps my mental health. Whether that be lowkey like curling up to watch a favourite film, listening to some feel good music. Or perhaps something on a day where I have bit more energy to attend a show to fuel my love of the arts, maybe getting some new clothes for a bit of tlc or having a bit of a makeover & taking part in a photoshoot to help boost my confidence. For example, this wonderful photoshoot that took place after lockdown. It gave me not only the chance to get back to what I love but to be in an atmosphere that you just can’t get anywhere else. Joining Zebedee was one of the kindest things I’ve done for myself. To be around like-minded people, following my dreams, working with the best teams means even more to me now than ever after going through lockdown. I’ve always loved being creative, whether that be in front of the camera or behind. It helps me reconnect back to myself which is so important to do. I can unlock and learn so much about myself whilst taking part in a shoot or taking the photos. It also pushes me to be better, to do better which is what I need, that drive. It makes me feel good, feel happy, feel free and at the end of the day, you couldn’t ask for more. Do what makes you happy. Your happiness is so important, don’t let anyone say otherwise.
Taking the time to focus on what’s important, making memories, looking back in reflection and having another go at something. Never giving up. These are all ways I’m kind to myself.
I’ve learnt over the years how to work with my chronic illness and not against. It’s finding that balance to find what your body needs which in return gives me respect for my body by treating it kindly.
Aged 40 from Manchester
Left-arm amputee after an accident at work.
I think in this day and age it's really hard to learn how to be kind to yourself. Its taken me a long time to not feel guilty about doing the things that make me feel good. Having gone through a lot of physical and mental trauma, I now understand how vital it is to be kind to yourself and most importantly to give yourself permission to be kind and make the time for you. Sometimes I will buy myself flowers, they always make me feel good! Putting on my favourite perfume, dressing in something that doesn’t resemble a PJ! Making the time to read & I also make time to train and exercise. Whatever kindest is for you, do it, it's good for the soul.
Aged 18 lives in Manchester
Bailey has Cerebral Palsy
Kindness what it means to me; Been Kind to myself is something I have to remind myself to do sometimes
Could be a deep breath
A relaxing treat
A trip to the gym sparring session with my dad
Remind myself that I’ve a achieved a lot and focus on the good things tell me I’m just as good as the next person
Been kind to others also is so important
It’s free can be just a look a smile a hug and thoughtful text a nice phone call so many ways to display and can mean so much always try to be kind to others and yourself we’ve all got are own private battles
Aged 53 from Bedfordshire
Nancy is an above knee amputee and wears a prosthetic leg. She walks with an elbow crutch, uses a wheelchair for long distances and wears a hearing aid due to partial hearing loss.
Keeping fit is important so she likes gym workouts, yoga, Pilates and swimming, as well as adventurous activities like zip wires, indoor skydiving and jet skiing.
My professional work can be heart-breaking and distressing, so I show kindness to myself by buying a bunch of the brightest flowers to cheer my mood and lift my spirits.
The world can seem a very dark, unfair place so these simple reminders of the beauty of nature help to ground me and keep me smiling.
24 year old living in Lincolnshire.
Fell ill with a rare brain disease called Anti NDMA Receptor Encephalitis at age 20, and after 3 months spent misdiagnosed in an psychiatric ward, complications lead to permanent paralysis of the left leg. Since then, life has changed dramatically, and every day poses fresh challenges of living both newly disabled and also with an acquired brain injury.
Passionate about increasing the visibility of disability in fashion, beauty and the media as well as raising awareness of rare brain diseases through public speaking and social media.
After being ill with a rare brain disease, there have definitely been times that I have been far from kind to myself. In grieving the person that I was before I was poorly, there have been moments that I have hated this new, unfamiliar Lucy. Learning to talk and walk, alongside all other daily activities certainly led to times of frustration and seeing all my friends progress in their lives without me made me wish that I was anyone other than myself. Waking up wt 21 not only suddenly paralysed, but also with an acquired brain injury and all the challenges that come alongside that was the hardest thing that has ever happened to me.
However, as time has passed and I have become more accepting of what happened to me, I can now see that what I went through was nothing short of extraordinary, and that to have gone through such a thing must make me a remarkable person. Because of that, I choose to be kinder to myself, the same way that I feel an immediate sense of warmth and a willingness to be kind to any other disabled person who shares their story with me and reveals their resilience in times of adversity.
Being on such a concoction of medications for so long, and being unable to exercise for huge periods of time had left me extremely unhappy with my body, and the worse it got, the less I cared about myself/ doing anything about it. Thankfully, through being alone for 3 months shielding through lockdown, I had lots of time to really focus on myself and my health, and through being kinder to myself than ever before, I managed to lose over three stone.
Aged 22 from Nth Ireland
Kate has Down Syndrome.
When life gets too much, to lift my mood I listen to my favourite music on my head phones. Showing kindness to yourself, helps your wellbeing to enable you to be kind to others.