If your best friend confided in you that they were extremely anxious about the upcoming holidays, what would you say?
As a good friend, you would be supportive. You would remind them of all the challenges they had already overcome in their life, and assure them that they would be able to weather this storm as well. You would help them to understand that, at this very moment, they were safe…and loved.
Now consider being able to give that same advice to yourself. Consider having the ability to soothe and strengthen your own spirit at this, and any, challenging time in your life.
That is the essence of Mindful Self Compassion.
Taking A Self Compassion Break
The holidays will be different this year. Along with the challenges of COVID-19,, we will miss “entertaining” with family and friends, as well as our holiday rituals. Self Compassion practices can help us all get through this period with a little more ease, particularly when we give generosity not only to others but also to ourselves.
Mindfulness can allow us to determine what is concerning or bothering us. Our Common Humanity is all about realizing that we are not alone. Indeed, we are not alone in feeling and experiencing the social isolation that is with us all through this time of Covid-19.
Self compassion is about being gentle with ourselves; treating ourselves with care, understanding, and the connectedness we would give to a dear friend.
Many Wellspring Edmonton members will be using strategies they learned in the 8-Week Mindful Self Compassion program to maintain the comfort and joy that’s at the heart of the holidays, including:
- Soothing Touch
- Calm and Affectionate Breathing
- Finding moments of Gratitude and Savouring Them
In Mindfulness programs, Soothing Touch is one practice that can provide comfort. Think of a time when a child, a friend or you yourself have been hurt or wounded. The natural tendency is to simply place a hand over the injured part of your body. It is instinctual – and it is a response which we can give to ourselves. Taking a minute and simply placing a hand gently over your heart or giving yourself a tender hug can give comfort. When we feel weighed down we can take a moment and tune into the soothing rhythm of our breathing. Breathing from the belly in easy and slow breaths can allow us to feel a greater sense of calm and quiet. You might try: Breathing In to a count of Four and Breathing Out to a count of Four …Always in a manner that is right and comfortable for you. Sometimes we forget to notice the small things in our everyday life that bring a good feeling. It is often the small things that are really the big things in life, yet we give them little attention or appreciation.
4. Finally…BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Research tells us that we must repeat a new practice 17 times, before we actually learn it, and it can be retrieved naturally.. Self Compassion practice does not typically change our lives right away. Like every new habit it takes time and some dedication. Having compassion for ourselves in these challenging times, along with giving ourselves a break can make a difference. We hope that you will consider enrolling in one of our Mindfulness programs at Wellspring Edmonton starting again in 2021.
Have a loving,…and mindful Holiday!
Kerri Gladwin MPH & Marilyn Hundleby Ph. D., R. Psych
Check out the our virtual Mindfulness Programs
Mindful Living (coming soon!)
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction