Self-compassion during the holidays

Many people look forward to the holiday season as “the most wonderful time of the year.” While that may be true, it is also a stressful season filled with pressures and expectations. Whether strained by familial obligations or upset by failing a new year’s resolution to lose weight, the holidays can create numerous opportunities to feel like we are not “enough.” This holiday season, consider casting aside the “should” in your life and embracing some self-compassion.self-compassion during the holidays graphic

Ways to increase self-compassion in your life:

  • Reflect– Reflect on what you already do that is compassionate towards yourself and others and do it more. If you are not very good at being compassionate towards yourself, maybe try to apply some of the ways you are compassionate with others.
  • Mindfulness– No, this is not referring to spending hours at meditation! Mindfulness looks different for everyone. The key is to focus your attention to the present moment and acknowledge what comes up in a non-judgmental way. Refraining from judgement is key for self-compassion! If you are having negative thoughts, move towards them, recognize them, and let them go.
  • Physical Self-Care– It is easy to lose routines that keep you sane the rest of the year with the cold weather and busy schedules of the holidays; AND it is important to keep yourself active. Go for a walk with your family or find a few minutes for yourself to get your heart rate up. Activity is a great way to let go of the stress that builds up this time of year!
  • Self-Talk– We are often our own worst critics so choose to change the negative way we speak to ourselves. Talk to yourself as you would a good friend, chances are you will be much kinder and more patient.

Also, know that it is ok to reach out and ask for support. Identify what kind of support would be most helpful for you such as a buddy to go with on a walk or someone to take one thing off of your plate. Often we feel like we have to do it all, but chances are there are at least a few good people around to support you, you just have to ask.

Note: This is not another To-Do list. Failing to practice self-care and self-compassion is not another opportunity to judge yourself!

Maren McDonnell is a second year Marriage and Family Therapy graduate student and is Gottman Level I certified. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies and a minor in Spanish. Maren is originally from Boulder, CO and loves dancing, the outdoors and traveling.

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