Loving Kindness

I received this in my in inbox this morning and really felt the need to share. I love Sharon Salzberg and the work that she does. I hope you enjoy this meditation as much as I did. Click the link at the bottom to be taken to the video.

In this guided meditationSharon Salzberg leads us through a loving-kindness practice for connection and awareness.
 Sit comfortably, or lie down if that’s better for you. You can close your eyes or leave them open. Let your attention settle into your body and start by taking a few deep breaths.
 Allow your breath to be natural. We’re choosing, as an object of awareness, the silent repetition of certain phrases with ourselves as the first recipient. You can use any variation of the phrases: 

May I be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

Repeat these phrases over and over with enough space and silence to create a rhythm that’s pleasing to you.
 You don’t have to force a special feeling. Just gather all of your attention behind one phrase at a time. If you find your attention wandering, or you get lost in thought, or you fall asleep, don’t worry about it.
 See if you can bring to mind someone who we will call a benefactor. Think of someone who has helped you. Maybe they’ve helped you directly, or they’ve helped you get up when you’ve fallen, or maybe you’ve never met them. This is someone who makes you smile.

If someone comes to mind, you can bring them here. Visualize them, say their name to yourself, get a feeling for their presence, and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them. Even if the words seem imperfect, that’s fine.

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
 Now, have that benefactor figure offer loving-kindness back to you. Put yourself in the position of the recipient as your benefactor offers the phrases to you.

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

All kinds of emotions may arise. You may feel grateful, or you may feel embarrassed. Whatever may come up, see if it can just wash through you as you steady your attention on the repetition of the phrases.
 Imagine a friend who’s doing well right now. You can bring them here. Visualize them or say their name to yourself. Get a feeling for their presence and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them.
 Now imagine a friend who’s having difficulty. If someone comes to mind, bring them here and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them.
 Let’s have a party. Imagine a gathering of friends and family—anyone that comes to mind. Offer loving-kindness to that collective. 

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
 Then, add all beings everywhere. All people. All creatures. All those in existence. Near and far. Known and unknown.

May all beings be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
 When you feel ready, you can open your eyes. 
Try the Practice >>

Re-entry into the world post-COVID

How have you been feeling post-lockdown? I have recently seen patterns in my therapy practice of people having some stress & anxiety as we begin to open up our cities post-COVID. It is not just my clients, it is also with people that I know personally. If you are anything like me I got really comfortable staying home. I am fortunate that I can work from home. But even before lockdown I was a homebody. Always was and always will be. But I do recognize that my kids need to get back into a more normal routine. So now that I am double-vaxxed I have made a commitment to go out everyday. So far that has meant taking our youngest to the park, going for walks by the lake with our oldest, backyard visits with family, an eye exam that I have put off for a looooong time. The optometrist got really close which I knew would happen, and I mentally prepared for that. What are you doing to get out? Are you having anxiety about it? My suggestions:

  • go slow
  • don’t judge yourself
  • praise yourself for what you are able to do
  • set small, attainable goals
  • choose an activity that you enjoy
  • stay outdoors
  • gather safely with family & friends
  • celebrate your WINS
  • Reach out if you would like to chat about this

Music & Coping

I am not a big music buff or a musician but I know what I like and when I like or love a song I crush on it big time. I am currently obsessing over this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itxs22Zk1AM Thank you Dua Lipa for giving me a small amount of escape, peace and solace from a world that feels heavy and sad right now. And thank you to my kiddos, especially my oldest who let me play this on repeat as we went for a drive today. I have lost count but I think I have played it about 14 times today. 17 is the point when my older kids tell me “mom you have ruined the song for me”. The last time I did that was with this song from A Star is Born https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vheNbQlsyU What song makes you nostalgic? My husband knows what mood I am in if I am playing my Italian playlist. Immediately takes me back to memories of my mother making lunch on a Sunday after church. What song makes you sing out loud in the shower? What song makes you think of high school? What song makes you think of your best friend? sibling? partner? What is your all time favourite song? Take a few minutes to play your favourite song and I encourage you to sing along.

Grace, Kindness & Letting Go

As a Registered Nurse and Psychotherapist, I find clients are often very self-critical, hard on themselves and play the ‘should’ blame game. I ‘should’ have done more, I ‘should’ know better, I ‘should’ have known this. We all do it. Unfortunately, for clients who struggle with mental health issues this negative inner critic can result in low self-esteem, depression, guilt and shame.
Not too long ago a client shared an issue with me in which she was berating herself
over an event she experienced. After we talked about it, I suggested that she show
herself more grace and kindness. Exasperated, she asked, “How do I do that?”
Many of my clients ask the same question. In my experience as an RN
Psychotherapist, I find the following suggestions helpful and especially so now, in
the world we are living in.
How to Be Kind to Yourself
Forgive Yourself:
We all make mistakes. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. It is okay to make
mistakes. It is okay to not have a good day. You deserve it. Give yourself grace and
kindness. Permit and allow yourself to let it go.
Take Care of Yourself – Be a Friend:
One of the best ways to show yourself kindness is to take care of yourself. Be a friend
to yourself. Get enough sleep, take brief naps, eat healthy and exercise. Choose a
healthy way to release stress. Watch a funny show or movie on Netflix.
Acknowledge Yourself:
Acknowledge yourself when you have completed a project or created something. You
deserve to praise yourself. When you achieve something give yourself a moment to be
proud of what you have done. A question I often ask my clients is, “What are you most
proud of?” You might want to write in down in a journal (See journal suggestions below).

Self-Soothing:
Be kind to yourself by soothing yourself. Here are some ideas:
 Take a bath
 Light a scented candle
 Play some calm or fun music
 Curl up on the couch with a book and a blanket.
Tame Your Inner-critic:
Allow yourself ten minutes a day to be aware of the negative thoughts then put them in
a mental “box”. Replace the negative self-talk with an inner positive dialogue and write
in down in a journal book.
Affirmations: 
Choose a journal book that you like and on a daily basis write down affirmations. Here
are some examples:
 “I am worthy.”
 “I am a good person.”
 “I am enough”
 “I deserve to be happy.”
Keep Your Dreams and Goals Alive:

The pandemic will end.
Organize your dreams and form them as goals. Create a plan for achieving those goals.
This is another great way to use a journal book.
Perfection is Not Realistic:
Accept and love yourself for the good, the bad and everything in between. This is the
best way to be kind to yourself.
Declutter/Organize:
You deserve it. Clean out that messy closet that’s been annoying you or organize your
dresser drawers simply to feel more organized in a disorganized world during the
epidemic. Some people feel better when they can keep busy and have something to
show for their time and work.
Get Outside:
Go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the world around you. Being outside can be
a great stress reliever.
Breathe!
Try it. Take a deep breath, hold it momentarily…slowly exhale following your breath. Taking three deep breaths when you are being negative, hard on yourself and stressing
out.
Practice Mindfulness:
Where are you right now? Try being ‘mindful’. Be aware of the things around you. The
smell of your freshly brewed coffee or the sound of birds chirping outside. Take a
moment to be fully present. Anything can be a chance to be ‘mindful’.
Feel Your Emotions
Check in with yourself. If you are sad, feel the sadness. There is no right or wrong way
to feel. Try gratitude. It’s an attitude. What are the simple things in life you are grateful
for?
Make Time for Yourself
Be kind to yourself by giving yourself some “me time” each day. Every day carve out
some time for yourself and do something that brings you joy and makes you smile.
Draw or sketch, colour with your kids (who doesn’t love the smell of a Crayola crayon),
journal, write a poem, play that guitar that’s been sitting around. Do something you love
to do. Make time for rest, relaxation and fun. Take an hour out of your day or even ten
minutes. Schedule it in your calendar so you get a notification.
Suggestions for Journalling:
Prompt yourself with these suggestions:
 What is in your control? What is not in your control?
 What do you want to let go of? How will you feel when you let go of this?
 What are you hanging on to (tightly)? Why do you think you are doing this?
 How can I change or let go of the things that are not working for me?
Working with clients who struggle with mental health and substance abuse I find the
biggest obstacle to mental wellness is asking for help. You are not weak if you ask for
help it is a sign you are strong. If you are struggling during the pandemic, there is no
need to do it alone because you don’t want to burden family or friends. Reach out and
call or text a friend who is a good listener.
During this unprecedented time, we all need to be a caring friend to ourselves. Talk to
yourself in a kind way. Find the grace and kindness inside you.

Mind full or mindful?

So this morning I decided to skip my morning meditation and told myself I will do it later. My reasoning was I wanted to continue reading a novel while I had my coffee. I enjoyed the novel and my coffee by 11am I was feeling a little moody and a little annoyed with little things. By that point I regretted my decision to postpone my meditation.

My morning meditation calms me, helps to clear my head and helps me to be focused for the day.

Lesson learned.

IGTV Interview with @JournalJunky

This was an interview with Nicole a woman I admire that also believes journaling can be transformative. @journaljunky.  My first interview where I was able to share my passion for journaling, meditation and nursing.   I believe that we need to build our selves up so that we can then care for others and build up our profession. 

Key takeaways from the interview:

I offer journaling as an antidote to burnout, workplace stress and overwhelm.  Journaling can help with transition and uncertainty.  When making changes start small, be kind to yourself in the process and don’t lose sight of how far you have already come.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nicole Annette M. Ed / 20+ yrs (@journaljunky) on Sep 4, 2020 at 12:05pm PDT

I Will Be Speaking…

I will be talking with Mindful Nurses on their Wellness Wednesday on Wednesday April 7 at 9pm EST. I will be talking about giving ourselves grace, kindness and letting go.  Recently, I had a client recently ask how to go about this and I had to take a moment to absorb that question.  “How can I be kind to myself?”  It sounds like an easy and simple question but it is loaded!  As nurses we are expected to care for others but do we truly do the same for ourselves? And the “letting go”… letting go of stress, overwhelm, perfection and things that hold us back and impact our day to day, our outlook and our overall health.  I will share some journal prompts that can help work through some of these ideas.  I will also share how creating a journaling practice can be a lovely addition to our self care. Please click here to join: https://mindfulnurses.com/wellnesswednesdays/xbvwql4smsqamm9i162pio4n1jof4a