It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Mindfulness as Self-Care: 5 Soothing Tips

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Ups and downs are a natural part of life, but the roller coaster of emotional realities we’ve been riding lately calls for us to pay special attention to our well-being. If you don’t have a self-care routine in place, or you’re looking to refine or refresh the one you’ve got, allow me to recommend the simple yet powerful practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness can help us offer ourselves some much-needed love, compassion, and peace of mind as we continue to navigate the realities of the ongoing pandemic. Here are five ways you can use mindfulness to comfort yourself, even amidst chaos.

 

Mindfully connect with others: Call a dear friend, maybe one you haven’t spoken with in a while. Make a commitment to connect, then practice the art of connecting. If you’re really in a rut, consider making a therapy appointment.

I know for myself that when I’ve been at the bottom of the snake pit, I really haven’t wanted to share my story with friends because I get sick of telling it. That’s when it’s time to call in reinforcements. Find a wonderful therapist to hear your story. Many insurance companies are covering remote therapy sessions during the pandemic.

Be your own BFF: Don’t let yourself believe you are not enough, or you may not be able to handle the depths of the emotional storms that blow through your life. Be your own BFF so you can always count on YOU, no matter what hand life deals you.

Embrace the yin and yang of self-compassion: Unfortunately, many of us spend a lot of time worrying about whether our personal way of being in the world is too much or not enough. In thinking about the yin and yang of self-compassion, consider accepting yourself and your energetic way of being as “just right,” just as you are. Keep your eye on the ball of focusing on self-compassion, whether it’s the soft kind or the fierce kind.

Take time away from the 24-hour news cycle: Give yourself permission to step away, turn off the TV, and steer clear of political social media streams when you need a break. Take this time to do something positive and impactful instead — something that makes you feel good and helps others. Volunteer in your community. Donate to a cause you’re passionate about.

Comfort yourself with soothing touch: Placing your hand over your heart — or wherever you find it most comforting (i.e., your shoulder, your cheek) — taps into your body’s mammalian caregiver response and releases oxytocin and opiates in your brain to counteract cortisol, the stress hormone. 

I put my hand on my heart probably 20 times a day! Whenever I hear an upsetting story, up goes my hand to my heart. Some of my mindfulness students find that placing a hand on their belly or cheek worked better for them. Try different spots out on yourself and see what works for you.

You don’t have to do all five of these things every day; just pick one and get started. The more we give ourselves permission to make time and space for our own well-being, the more powerfully we can show up for all the other responsibilities in our lives. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential.

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