Out of the Kitchen: My 29th Birthday & Reflections on Compassion

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

Jessica sat at a table with plates of food.

Today is my 29th birthday!! I feel like I’ve been sharing my birthday thoughts for a few years now, and it’s been a tradition I’ve really enjoyed. I wanted to do the same this year, but slightly different.

I had an entirely different post planned for today. I was going to share about my biggest lesson of this latest year of my life, on learning to fail and other topics that I felt would be reassuring, motivating and inspiring. But with everything that’s going on right now, there’s only been one thing on my mind: shared human connection. 



I can’t remember where I saw it, but for the first time that I can remember, we’re all (worldwide) going through a similar experience worldwide. It’s not an event taking place “far away”, it’s something happening in our own countries, our own cities, and affecting all of our lives. Shared human connection is a topic heavily shared and taught about through my Meditation app Headspace and is something that since the first time I ever heard the phrase used, has really resonated with me. 

In Headspace (this is in no way sponsored, btw), it’s used to remind us that we’re never alone. So much so that they hold daily group meditations which I love participating in. Knowing that someone somewhere, no matter the time zone or lifestyle, is meditating at the exact same time as me, makes me feel so connected. As if we’re all in the same room. It reminds me that we are all one species. Seeing everyone’s stories and experiences remind me that we’re all always having a shared human experience, and that is so apparent right now. What’s my takeaway from that?


If there’s one thing this situation has taught me, it’s that we should have compassion for our fellow humans. We should show love, share, be kind, and remember to think of others with our actions. Let’s be as compassionate as we can with others in these times. On that same note, let’s be as compassionate as we can with OURSELVES. Don’t forget to show yourself love and compassion, too. In these potentially anxiety-causing times, I want to share some things that I’ve found to help me.

Some self-love practices

  • Meditate or pray or do both daily. Having a grounding exercise within the first few minutes of my day has really helped me to channel calmness.
  • Go EASY on yourself workwise. This goes whether you’re used to working in an office outside of your home or you’re used to working at home. Not being able to be your most productive self during such an unexpected situation is well, pretty understandable. For the last few days, I’ve been slowly cooking, watching movies, spending more time with Gav, and enjoying a mug brownie (or two). In fact, I’m currently doing something I love so much – baking at midnight on my birthday. Take this time to show yourself the love you deserve.
  • Get some sunlight. I don’t know where you are reading this from and what your current situation is, but ensure you get some sunlight. Sometimes I just go on my back patio or outside my front door and get some sun and photosynthesize, as I like to think of it. It really helps.
  • Get some kind of movement in. I’m not saying you need to be on TOP of your gym/exercise routine (unless that’s something you know you need to keep you sane), but movement is always good for us. Be that a walk, your regular exercise routine at home, some yoga, some housework, even stretching.
  • Ensure you’re nourishing your body. ‘Nuff said.
  • Get some good sleep.
  • Give yourself a break from the news 24/7. I think I spend a good two days glued to the news, which I never do. On day 3, I decided that I wanted to keep informed, not overloaded. Remember to give your brain some mental space.
  • Do a daily gratitude check.


Sending you all SO much love, support, light and compassion. Thank you for making Jessica in the Kitchen what it is today ❤️.

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  1. Judy says:

    Beautiful thoughts from a beautiful soul. Happy birthday Jessica! Hope it is a good one.

  2. Mary Ann Walsh says:

    Happy Birthday to a fellow Pisces! Thanks so much for all the positive thoughts Jessica, and for everything you do throughout the year!

    • Jessica says:

      Aww thank you so much Mary Ann! Not sure if your birthday is before or after mine but hope you have/had a wonderful birthday!!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely post! I wish you a most Happy Birthday and I hope you have a wonderful year.

    • Jessica says:

      Aww thank you so very much Suzanne, and you’re so welcome!! I hope you have a wonderful year too!

  4. Heidi says:

    Happy Birthday Jessica.
    Your warmth, love and wonderful recipes are a bright light across the world. I was introduced to you by a friend via your red lentil curry. You brought deliciousness back to my dining table. And now, with your birthday post, you have brought calmness, happiness and a sense of stillness to my anxious mind. Thank you.
    May you have a wonderful day.

    Heidi x

    • Jessica says:

      Aww thank you so much Heidi for such a lovely and kind comment!! It really means a lot and I’m so happy I was able to help make a positive impact with you!! <3 I hope you have a wonderful day too!!

  5. Robbin says:

    Happy 29th Birthday. Enjoy your day.

  6. Racquida says:

    I absolutely love everything about this! Thanks so much for sharing. It speaks alot about a person that extend themselves to others on even their own very special day. Happy Birthday Jessica! #29nice! All the love.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much beautiful!! <3 Really appreciate your comment and all the love!!

  7. Michelle says:

    Happy birthday and thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ve definitely been using the vegan tahini chocolate chip mug cake as a stress reliever and am grateful for it. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much Michelle!! Oh yummy – so happy to hear that!!

in the kitchen everyday