As we’ve now entered the holiday season, I wonder how you cope with all of the “busyness” of this time of year. Do you tend to feel overwhelmed with shopping lists, office parties, and family gatherings? Do you take time to notice even the smallest of joys? Do you pause, notice your breathing, and allow yourself to rest in gratitude?

I acknowledge this time of year is often laden with mixed emotions. The season seems to bring out the best and worst in people. Perhaps taking a self-compassion break is what everyone needs. Self-compassion is noted to offer oneself self-kindness versus self-judgment. That’s a notable difference from self-care. I often find myself thinking or saying, “I should” when I’m considering self-care. Self-compassion encourages one to be mindful versus falling prey to over identification. There are many benefits of self-compassion.  People who are self-compassionate experience higher levels of happiness, optimism, curiosity, and connectedness.  They also experience less anxiety, depression, and fear of failure.

One way to integrate self-compassion is to adopt a lifestyle embracing gratitude. Individuals wilfully decide to make changes in their lives (self-compassion). Have you ever thought of embracing gratitude as a lifestyle choice? Maybe you can start and end your day with listing three things you’re grateful for. You might start verbalizing your gratitude to others for how they impact your life.

Perhaps you’ll choose to incorporate a weekly “pay-it-forward” practice to more vibrantly live in gratitude.

Here’s a piece I wrote with gratitude for my sister (who has intellectual disability):

Through her eyes

I get a glimpse of years gone by.

She stares up at the white lights and her eyes twinkle with glee.

Through her eyes

I am excited with anticipation.

Snickerdoodles, German chocolate, and the aroma of mulling spices linger in the air.

Through her eyes

I take comfort in the present moment

And delight in pure bliss in this holiday season.

Through her eyes

Tears stream down my face.

I hear distant voices of the past and heartwarming laughter in the future.

Through her eyes

I embrace the Spirit.

Nurturing Hope, Peace, Joy. And Love.

 

Sharing this part of my journey with you seems appropriate for this time of year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel a shift in the atmosphere and notice that more gratitude and joy abounds this season? It can start with you…