Published: Feb. 15, 2021

JB BanksEven in normal times, February can be a tough month for many of us. The weather is colder, midterms are underway and we are still navigating a pandemic. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone!

One thing I have noticed is that sharing kindness during tough times can help you make it through. Instead of focusing time and energy on what’s not going well for us at the moment, focusing instead on kindness can help us release attitudes of entitlement, dismay or frustration and express gratitude. Here are some ways to do this. 

Be kind to yourself

There are many ways to be kind to yourself. My advice is to think about what hobbies or activities energize you and bring you joy. When things get busy with classes, work and other responsibilities, spending time on our favorite activities can become a low priority. But finding even a small amount of time to do something that you love can help you relax and feel better. 

Maybe for you it’s turning off your phone and reading a book for a half hour. Or if connecting with others helps you recharge, maybe it’s scheduling video chats with family and friends or attending student events. Perhaps you enjoy baking, crafting, drawing or playing video games—whatever works for you, I encourage you to make it a priority and carve out time in your week to fit those activities in. Be sure to find something to do on campus!

Be kind to others

Acts of kindness can leave a lasting effect on others. You may never know how your actions have affected someone else, and maybe even have inspired that person to pay it forward and keep it going. 

Once a month, my sweetheart and I will go out to support those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. We will share meals and supplies, and walk around talking with folks. I enjoy spending some of my time and resources this way, and know that it helps strengthen our community. 

No matter how big or small, your acts can help build a culture of kindness at CU Boulder. This week just happens to be Random Acts of Kindness Week, and I encourage you to think of some ways you can share kindness with others. Maybe that’s paying a compliment to a fellow Buff, picking up trash in your neighborhood or leaving some extra quarters in the laundry room for someone else to use. For more ideas, review these tips for celebrating kindness.

I will be out and about on campus as a “dean on the go” this week. I look forward to connecting with you!

JB Banks
Dean of Students and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs