What’s it like to run a business that’s based on the concept of bringing joy to others during the pandemic? “When you are running your own business your brain is always on and it’s wired for productivity,” says Jamie Lee, co-founder of wellness journal brand The Kind Friend. “But just because you didn’t get to tick off all your to-do list for the day doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing a great job.”
When the 32-year-old decided to launch the line of journals in November last year, she never expected for the economy to tank a few months later. The Kind Friend began as an Instagram account, which was created by her husband. On the gram, you’ll see a series of pastel coloured tiles with positive messages like “Making mistakes is completely normal” and “Surround yourself with people who bring you up”.
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Today, they have an impressive following of 74,000 followers. And their followers aren’t the passive sort – in fact, they’ve been tagged in multiple posts by their followers, who share individual bad experiences that have been made better through journaling. “We developed the journal line with the Instagram community in mind,” explains Jamie. “We have had an incredible response from all across the globe for our journal. It’s being used by teams at Waze, Spotify, Google and other companies.”
But Jamie isn’t an idealist when it comes to staying positive in tough situations. The entrepreneur admits that she had been putting a lot of pressure on herself during the pandemic. She tells Her World: “I constantly wanted to take advantage of each moment and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to do so, especially during times when things were outside of my control.”
So she decided that she had to recalibrate her thoughts and take the slower times as a sign to recuperate from her hectic business schedules. “The lockdown period brought a sense of simplicity and clarity into my life. Some days do feel slower, but in these quiet moments, I am able to go inward and connect with myself,” she says.
Getting used to a fast-paced lifestyle meant that Jamie had a lot of slowing down to do. “I learned that I wanted to make more effort in creating deep and meaningful connections; and I felt more grateful for what I do,” she explains. “My hope is that even when this pandemic is over, I will continue to make time for self-reflection, play and meaningful connections.”
She adds: “I gave myself a challenge of taking up a new hobby every fortnight. I started doing painting, dancing and cooking. I love how there were no goals attached to these activities, they helped me to turn all the little mundane moments into something beautiful. “
Jamie’s tips on staying positive
Exercise at least 40min a day: “I love starting my day with a natural dose of endorphins which is a brain chemical associated with feeling happy. Exercising is my way of showing love and respect to my body for its ability to move. I never exercise out of punishment and shame, I believe fitness should be based in strengthening ourselves instead of shrinking ourselves.”
Connecting with loved ones: “I believe happiness is about connecting. I schedule time daily to connect with my family and friends; and when I engage with them I make sure I don’t multitask. My goal for this year is to be more present; and when I’m engaging with loved ones all those notifications and emails can wait.”
Journaling: “I’ve been journaling since I was 12 and it’s a ritual that makes me feel whole. When I journal it allows me to be free within myself, to manifest my own happiness and to succeed without second guessing myself or looking for external validation. It surprises me to know that we’ve gone through so many years of education yet nobody taught us how to love ourselves and enjoy our own company.”