Happy Holidays! As our attention turns toward holiday celebrations, family, friends and resolutions, we often find ourselves neglecting self care. The ease at which we can slip into running around through the stress of planning, purchasing and putting off our self care can often lead to rushing, resentment and relapse. The emerging body of research on self compassion demonstrates how necessary it is to practice care & compassion toward ourselves. And if ‘regular’ times are important to practice those self care skills, the holidays are the final exam, testing our ability to notice and let self judgment pass, taking 20 minutes for ourselves and ensuring that we have the stamina to make it through the next two weeks.
As the demands of the holidays pile up, does practicing self compassion make you a selfish person? While taking that 20 minutes to yourself, being gentle with your words and judgments and practicing some compassion can feel self indulgent, research shows that it can increase a person’s self worth and help them identify personal & interpersonal transgressions more readily and increase a person’s willingness to make repairs. Further, practicing self care and compassion increases a person’s ability to show compassion toward others as well as their resilience to stress.
Self compassion is, like most skills, a practice. The more we practice, the better we become and the more likely we are to draw upon it in times of need. We are much less likely to act with compassion in times of stress if we do not practice it in times of non-stress. Internationally renowned author and researcher Dr. Kristin Neff has created some fantastic exercises that can help initiate or grow a practice based in self compassion and mindfulness. So, as the holidays approach, we wish you a fantastic holiday season and wish for your a 2017 rooted in care, self compassion and non-suffering.