Relieve Holiday Stress with Self-Compassion

When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives. – Kristin Neff 

I am exhausted. Too many competing priorities, too many duties, too many emotional issues that drain me.

I hit a wall a week or so ago. I was on the verge of tears at every turn; I was volatile and near breakdown. And then I stopped. I just stopped doing everything, except the absolute necessities.

You have probably heard lots of remedies to these types of crises. I have too…And I decided to try some of them.

Peel away everything except what MUST be done. Thankfully, my schedule has lightened because of the holidays. I also canceled a couple of “want-to-do’s,” feeling that they too would create that feeling of overwhelm.  And, finally, and the hardest of all, I asked for help. In some cases these steps were just about little things. The fact is, they relieved me of some of my panic.

Pay attention to your breath. I have become more conscious over the years of the power of breathing. It can calm and focus. It can clear your head. I’ve been doing a lot more of that in my current state. It helps.

Pray / Reflect / Meditate– I believe in the power of prayer. Others of you may practice a different type of spiritual communication and centering. I schedule this in my day, because if I don’t, it won’t get done. And I miss the focus it provides later on as my day becomes more hectic.

Cry – Those of you who read my blogs will know that my husband has had difficult health issues over the years. I can’t help but cry – for him, for us, for our future. Crying can be a wonderful release of emotion, as long as you don’t wallow in it.

The Kristin Neff quote at the top of my blog suggests that when we take the time to open our hearts, we create space for transformation. As you peel away the not-as-important stuff and pay attention to your breath and you pray and cry, a space opens for something new. I find little transformations in all kinds of places: at church when I feel more connected to the world because the woman sitting next to me has the same wedding anniversary as I do; at home where all the hectic pace of the day turns into a wordless and warm embrace from my husband; or on the phone when I hear my sister’s voice and know that I can laugh.

For more information about self-compassion, check out these two cool resources:

Self-Compassion – Dr Kristin Neff

Whole Life Challenge

 

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