By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director
"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on self-compassion.
Getting a break from work is one of the many perks of the holiday season, but there are still myriad pressures that come with this festive period.
So, this holiday season give yourself the gift of self-compassion.
You can give yourself a break and you don’t need to feel guilty about it.
On the surface this may seem like a silly or even fruitless notion – but I’m talking about more than simply putting on a facemask and going for a walk (although you should definitely do that too).
At IMPACT Community Services we understand the importance of taking your mental health seriously.
And we encourage our staff to do the same and take their self-care seriously.
It’s okay to take time to work out a self-care plan that works best for you in order to give yourself the best foundation to tackle the day and boost your wellbeing.
As per Dr Kristin Neff’s research, self-compassion is different from self-esteem, it’s not self-pity and it’s not self-indulgence.
Dr Neff’s suggests ‘instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?’.
It’s about being kind to yourself and giving yourself a level of understanding that imperfections/mistakes/suffering is part of the human experience and you’re not alone.
Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions is also key so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.
Basically turning the compassion you would show a friend towards yourself – because you deserve it too.
Some of the exercises stepped out by Dr Neff for the practice include writing, changing your critical self-talk, identifying what you really want and taking care of the caregiver.
In taking care of yourself and allowing time, understanding and acceptance you establish a solid foundation of self for yourself.
If you are taking care of your wellbeing and showing yourself some self-compassion, you’re giving yourself the best mind frame to soak up the good times and handle difficult situations.
This can foster a greater sense of gratitude, love and appreciation – all of which are more powerful than fear.
Be kind to yourself this holiday season.
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