Navigating the Holiday Season with Mindfulness and Self-CompassionNov 25, 2023
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrated. I hope you had a great time!
For those who didn’t, nor did I this year, and this email is for you.
I spent the whole Thanksgiving week in bed this year, sick with stomach flu. And I know I'm not the only one who has had a challenging holiday. Often it's a time when difficult family dynamics come into play or grief can be increased as a loved one's presence is missed even more.
These holidays can often bring up feelings when situations aren’t how we want them to be. Anxiety that things will go as planned, isolation when we feel others are having it better than we are, loneliness when we may be alone and want to be with others, sadness at the loss of a person, and anger at someone or something under the stress of the holidays. All of these are normal reactions to the pressure on us that we should feel one way but don’t.
So here are a couple of thoughts I wanted to share on what I do when I start to feel this way during a holiday season.
1. Be mindful.
Allow yourself to pause and ask yourself how you are feeling with curiosity and non-judgment. Allow your feelings to be there no matter what they are. Notice how they feel in the body and where and see if some movement can help "shake" them out. All emotions do change and pass if we let them.
2. Practice self-compassion.
See if there is a self-compassionate voice that you can bring to your own inner dialogue, something like: “Yes, this is a moment of suffering, it is challenging right now, let me be kind to myself” Then see if there is something that you could do for yourself to take action to give yourself some compassion. Some suggestions are to take a moment to yourself, have a bath, do some yoga, or have a nap.
3. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude practice is possible no matter what the circumstances of your life are like right now. In fact, if it's a challenging time it's even more important. Soooo much research and my own personal practice h shown that paying attention to the good and the joyful in life no matter how small and fleeting can really improve your mood and give you a sense of balance in life, after all, you are definitely noticing the bad, aren’t you? Little things like a warm home and a comfortable seat aren't so small and insignificant if we can notice them with intention.
Have a listen to the gratitude practice above if you want to try it for yourself.
Wishing you compassion and resilience during this holiday season. Remember, you're not alone.
Every Friday morning, I host a FREE community class dedicated to cultivating mindfulness. This session is open to all and aims to create a space for reflection and growth. Register here
Additionally, I offer a membership program that provides exclusive access to all my teachings and favorite practices, not only for gratitude but also for self-compassion and more. Being a member allows you to delve deeper into these practices at your own pace.