Being Gentle with Yourself through the Holidays (and Always)

Being Gentle with Yourself through the Holidays (and Always)

by Sarah Wirth, LCPC

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Be gentle with yourself.” This is a phrase I use with my clients so often, and around the holidays it seems to be a necessary reminder for all of us.

Perhaps it’s being gentle with the expectations you place on yourself to get it all done: the baking, the decorating, the cards, the shopping. It may be unrealistic to make all or any of these things happen this year. And that can be okay, if you allow yourself the space to accept it.

Perhaps it’s your expectations of others. Wishes you have for those in your life: family, friends, or work relationships, that have been unfulfilled Be careful with those external projections, as there are many reasons why they may go unfulfilled time and time again. Perhaps in  your breath and space of gentleness that  you are extending to yourself, you can find the energy and ability to do the same for others.

Perhaps it’s the inequalities in our world that make you unsettled. The families who are homeless and the children who go without. Or the violence you are inundated with when you tune into media. There isn’t a simple resolution to this stirring. There can be compassion you discern into action, especially when you are taking such good care of yourself that you are awake to the way and means you are able to to give.

Being gentle with yourself may be as simple as:

  1. Checking in with yourself a couple times daily: closing your eyes and focusing on your  breath, noticing the tension and “should” statements that may have piled up since your last check-in. Breathe in compassion, breath out expectation.
  2. Having  tea and talking with  a friend, instead of tuning into social media or television. Sharing a real, live connection with someone who loves you and may also need this connection.
  3. Settling in for the night  with a warm rice pack placed on your neck or stomach — easily made with a pillow case, rice and rubber band; microwave in 30 second increments until your liking. (This is my favorite way to treat myself!)

Being gentle in these simple, nourishing actions and learning to be kind with the words you say to yourself, can allow you to refocus on what is most important this time of year, and always.