Christmas and holidays can sometimes be a let-down. Even those with happy families can find that the busy-ness and the doing has got in the way of the enjoying and the feeling. High expectations have not been met. We compare ourselves to others negatively. There has been a lot of work and some stressful moments.
For yet others it is a time of piercing loneliness and imagining that nearly everyone else in the world is having a wonderful time – bar you. It can be a period of looking back into a happier past, thinking of lost loved ones we still desperately miss.
Whatever the root cause, the holiday season is a time, then, for self-compassion. For showing oneself the kindness that we give generously to others, but often keep from ourselves. For so many of us are overly self-critical and self-judgemental, and really quite hard on ourselves. We over-think and ruminate on our failings. Our self-talk is our worst critic.
Showing kindness to ourselves can lower anxiety, stress and depression. How can we consciously bring more self-kindness into our lives?
An article by Mitch Abblett in the Mindful magazine sets out one practice we can do for ourselves.
Find a quiet space and be comfortable.
First send your past and your present self kind wishes. – Imagine yourself as a child, a teenager, youth, and send good thoughts. Remember back – when was it easier to be kind to yourself? What has got in the way? Make yourself a kind wish for today.
Next choose an act of self care for yourself that works for you as neither self denial nor self indulgence.
Then for the rest of the day make a note of the times you criticise or encourage yourself. Be more aware of these behaviours. Then set the intention to ensure that the compassionate actions outnumber the self criticism.
Make yourself your own best friend. Then your new best friend can help you weather life’s storms.