self-care

#soul #Self-CompassionBreaks

roald dahlI think that there is strength in being able to stay calm, centered, and positive in the midst of annoyance.

This week, at the airport, I had some major annoyance triggers to deal with, and I found myself taking some Kristen Neff-style self-compassion breaks.  I closed my eyes, and I tried to bathe myself in the kind of loving, unconditional compassion that I offer to the small children inpreview my life.  I also tried to whisper let go and let dad to myself without looking any more like the crazy airport wanderer that I had become.

I’m far from perfect when it comes to staying calm and centered.  But I do get a satisfactory boost when I am able to keep from losing my temper and my ability to be positive, friendly, and compassionate in difficult situations.  I feel grateful and proud that I was able to survive a bout of air travel craziness without being rude or angry and without excessive complaining.  #BeingAirportFolk

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#reflection #How’sMyBalance?

Every so often, I intend to take a moment of reflection, checking out how I am doing at feeding all the different parts of me – heart, soul, mind, and body.  This time, I’m including a brief reminder about how I feed each of these elements of self.

#heart: I take care of my #heart by spending time with family and friends.  Since starting this blog, I’ve included only one post that involved spending time with family and friends.  (Boo, KEM!)

This abysmal showing actually doesn’t surprise me.  I spend a ton of quality time with Tee, who I love and cherish; we genuinely adore each other and spend lots of time talking together, adventuring together, and just being together.  (Some of my favorite weekend mornings are spent curled up in our rainbow living room, Tee watching a soccer game, me doing a crossword, with only sporadic interactions between us.)  As I blog more, I will try my best to do some blogging that highlights these beautiful big and small moments of joy and #heart that Tee and I have together.

However, when it comes to spending time with friends, I think I need a lot of work.  Tee and I are both homebody-ish; we love going out and doing new things, but we also love just being at home, reading our books, making food, writing – so it can be a challenge to make sure we are making time to be out and about with friends and also inviting our loved ones into our home for some togetherness.

#soul: I take care of my soul by spending quiet time reflecting and meditating, and by finding meaningful way51tmYTVmuaL._SX355_s to help others.  Since I started blogging, I’ve included four posts that involved soulshine.  (Yay, KEM!)  Exploring Kristen Neff’s audio program, Self-Compassion Step By Step, has inspired me to engage in frequent meditation practice lately.  Writing more consistently and taking time for myself to be still have also been good soul food.

#body: I take care of my body by eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising.  Since starting this blog, I’ve included two posts that involved taking care of my body.

#mind: I take care of my mind by learning and engaging my mind n lots of different ways.  Since starting this blog, I’ve written six posts involving learning and engagement.  (Winning!)  I’ve been on a big reading kick lately, and I tend to be inspired to blog when I learn something new, so that’s likely part of my success there.

self-care

#mind #soul #self-compassion #KristenNeff

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a tendency to criticize myself pretty harshly and unfairly.  I’m frequently beating myself up about something I said or did – sometimes, a thing that happened years ago, which is likely remembered by no one except for me.

When I first discovered Brene Brown and read The Gifts of Imperfection, I was excited to read about her reference to a researcher and writer who studied self-compassion – Kristen Neff.  Kristen wrote a book called Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind.   compassion

A few months ago, I was scanning a website for Social Work CEU trainings, and saw a one-day training entitled “Self-Compassion and Emotional Resilience” with Kristen.  Honestly, I was a little in disbelief, and slightly star-struck; I couldn’t believe that Kristen was speaking so close by and to an audience of regular old social workers/psychologists/counselors like me.  My supervisor approved the training, and I almost felt guilty.  (While I am sure that my being more self-compassionate would have numerous residual benefits for my clients, my excitement for this training was 100% selfish and self-motivated.)

This training was amazing and transforming for me.  Kristen led us in many meditations, and I hadn’t realized how much of her work was rooted in mindfulness and meditation.  The most powerful exercise we practiced involved almost tricking ourselves into self-compassion.  First, we pictured a being for which we felt unconditional and uncomplicated love – mine was my eighteen-month-old niece – and wished them love, peace, and ease.  Thenselfcompassion1, we pictured ourselves with the being, and wished ourselves and our identified being love, peace, and ease.  And lastly, of course, we pictured just ourselves, and tried to wish, as lovingly and peacefully and easily, those blessings for JUST us, just because.

A few days after the training, I was so motivated and inspired that I decided to order Kristen’s six-session audio program, Self-Compassion Step-By-Step, and I’ve found it amazingly helpful.  Already, I catch myself taking “self-compassion breaks” and feeling free to bathe myself in self-compassion at the times when others need me the most.