Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one who finds Christmas hard.  In order for me to celebrate this time of year I have to find a way to move authentically in a way that reflects what matters most to me.  I find it impossible to pretend my way through Christmas.  The price of gritting my teeth and showing up with a smile is way too high for me.  It takes a toll on my body and it leaves me feeling lost and separate from myself.  Nobody in my life benefits from me being tired, distracted and overwhelmed. 

What I do love is love and this is the season for love.  I was shopping for my grandchildren yesterday and I was so excited about the gifts I chose that I could hardly contain myself.  I shop with ease and with no time pressure.  I engage with the clerks and I take the time to stay grounded and connected with myself.  I stopped for tea and parked in a parking lot with the sun on my face.  I value my well-being.  I notice the hype but I refuse to get caught in it.  I said to my grandson last night, “everyone was so kind today”.  This was not my experience of Christmas shopping in the past.  When I notice thoughts that cause my body to tense up and contract with worry I simply notice them as old conditioned habits and I choose to be present and compassionate to myself instead.  I trust that I will get it all done in time.

When you find yourself disconnecting through worry or stress, slowing down with self-compassion is the antidote and the way to come back to yourself and the present moment.  Your body is your friend and it will let you know that it’s time to being some attention to yourself.  Listen to its messages of tension, exhaustion and stress.  I know that it’s difficult this time of year because your system is under so much pressure both internal and external that it can send you spinning.   

I’m sure you know some things that calms and nourish your body and your spirit.  Sometimes it helps to make a little list that you can keep handy for those times when it seems you simply can’t take a moment for yourself to even breathe.  You can.  I find the best support in practices that are simple, soft and slow. 

5 minute self-compassion practices are my favourite.

This is a little practice that I love and I think it’s perfect for the holiday buzz. I make a cup of tea and then I bring compassionate and gentle contact with myself by placing my hand over my heart. (the leg or belly works too) and I just notice, without judgement, what is happening in my body. I begin a mantra, a message of love and compassion to myself, and within about 5 minutes I feel held by my own compassionate presence. My body begins to let down and soften. I sit for about 20 minutes and allow my body to really take in the nourishment it needs.

This is a moment of compassion for myself.
This is a moment of kindness towards myself.
This is a moment of tenderness towards myself.
This is a moment of unconditional love for myself.

I love you.  I love you. I love you.

When we practice self-compassion we give our loved ones the best gift of all.  The gift of our regulated nervous system that allows us to show up as compassionate, present and engaged.  That is what we truly want to experience with each other. 

Be gentle and patient with this as it takes time to undo habits of stress and worry. 

I wish you a beautiful holiday filled with long pauses of love, peace and self-compassion. 

All of Candace’s services are Trauma, PTSD, Complex Grief, Chronic Illness and Benzo withdrawal symptom sensitive.

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