I’m a person who tends to get triggered easily. It doesn’t take much to make me overwhelmed, to trigger the “what if?” “holy crap” pile of thoughts. I’ve gotten much better throughout the years, but lately it’s been tough with so many things to plan and do.
So lately, I’ve been thinking of ways I can talk to myself without making matters worse. Because the dialogue in our heads can and does make matters worse. The words we use can create tidal waves, explosions, catastrophes inside our minds, which complicate our coping and incite our already stressed-out bodies.
In the last few months Brian and I have been planning our wedding (while experiencing some unexpected drama with our venue), and making improvements on our house.
I’ve been revising my book while working on my normal writing projects. Brian has been swamped at work. And, of course, we have the holidays.
Things have been hectic, to say the least. (And we don’t have any kids or pets!)
What I’ve realized during these busy times is the importance of meeting my own needs (and letting others meet theirs). I’ve realized just how critical it is to my well-being, productivity and sanity. Because you can’t go wrong with focusing on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Last week I mentioned the power of paying attention to details. The details of our lives. The details of our surroundings. The details of our relationships. The details in the details.
Writing my book has helped me notice the small yet big things of our lives, the things I used to regularly dismiss and some days still do. The sunset. The carpet of leaves outside my office window. My fiance’s eyes. My mother’s laugh. The scent of a pomegranate candle. The artwork on my favorite mugs. The strings in the song I’ll be walking down the aisle to. The power of a sentence. A word.
I think of play and creativity as a big part of self-care. Because with play and creativity come curiosity (about our bodies, our feelings, the world), humor, laughter, and simply a playful approach to life.
That is, instead of criticizing ourselves for being anxious or upset, we can get curious and explore why we’re feeling this way. We can explore where this feeling is in our body (your heart, your stomach).
We can marvel at our surroundings, because so much magic really does exist in our lives. It’s just a matter of using our senses fully.
Yesterday, I wrote about the different ways we can be kind to ourselves no matter the holiday season we’re having.Today, I’m sharing other ways we can practice self-compassion.
The holiday season is upon us. I just took a deep breath after writing that. Maybe you’d like to, too.
The holidays are a beautiful time, but they also may be a stressful and even heartbreaking time for oh-so many reasons.
Whatever this month brings for you, I hope you let it start and end with kindness. No matter what’s happening, I hope you can extend lots of compassion your way. I hope you give yourself doses of it daily, hourly.
You will see plenty of articles about the average number of calories in a Thanksgiving meal and how horrifying this is supposed to be. You’ll see plenty of articles on which foods you can eat and which foods you should never ever ever consume.
You’ll see articles portraying food as the enemy or Thanksgiving and the holidays in general as a battle you must defeat. (Or articles that create multiple enemies — one article said “food isn’t always the enemy” and then named something else that is.)
You’ll see articles that demonize food and you for “indulging.” They might be filled with judgement, scare tactics and guilt. They might be filled with ridiculous tips to manipulate yourself to eat less.
With American Thanksgiving less than a week away (how did this happen!!), I wanted to share more ideas with you on practicing gratitude, year-round. (On Wednesday I talked about doing a gratitude alphabet. )
For instance, this month, Laura Simms, a career coach whose work I greatly admire, has been hosting a photo challenge on Instagram called “the daily bon.” (You can learn all about it here.) I shared the above photo for the prompt “handwriting.”
Gratitude is a self-compassionate practice, according to therapist Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, who I recently interviewed for a piece on authentic ways to practice gratitude.
“Acknowledging and expressing genuine gratitude for what you appreciate in your life is a deeply kind act,” she said.
I agree. When we express gratitude for anything, it deepens our connection with it, and it deepens our connection with ourselves.