Welcome to a new week. How are you feeling as you step into it?
In a world that feels increasingly uncertain, it's only natural for our nervous systems to be running on empty. You may find yourself sleep-deprived, emotionally charged, and trapped in a whirlwind of relentless thoughts. It's a time when you might not know how to slow it all down, how to calm your racing heart, or how to process the overwhelming experiences around you. You might move between moments of shutting down or pushing your feelings aside and moments of advocating for what you believe is right in a world marked by profound suffering.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to how you should be feeling right now, and there's no easy fix for the challenges we face. However, I want to share some gentle yet impactful ways to help you and your family navigate these trying times with emotional support
Many people are skeptical about the value of self-compassion, especially during collective suffering. They wonder, 'Why should I focus on regulating my own emotions? How can I make a difference in the world?'
Let's begin by acknowledging the significant benefits of self-compassion and how it ripples through the world around us. When we learn to recognize our own suffering, we can then:
Extend kindness and empathy to others who are suffering.
Develop effective coping strategies to navigate stressful events.
Embrace both ourselves and our lives, imperfections and all.
Cultivate the inner strength needed to thrive.
Boost resilience and find the motivation for courageous action in challenging times.
Support others through difficult experiences.
In times of global crisis, it can be challenging to find compassion, both within ourselves and to extend to others. Yet, it's imperative for processing our own emotions and ultimately showing up with strength for those around us.
Here are three ways to practice compassion with an open invitation to regulate the nervous system, so you can show up with strength for yourself and extend that to others.
#1 Befriend Emotions.
In moments of struggle – whether you're caught in a doom scroll, burdened by guilt for not doing enough, battling insomnia, or experiencing emotional burnout – it's natural to want to turn away from your suffering. However, I encourage you to approach these emotions with gentleness.
Start by placing a hand on your heart, a gesture that can help soothe your nervous system.
Speak kind and empathetic words to yourself, acknowledging your feelings and the situation you're in. For example: "I am devastated by the state of the world. I feel worried and scared. I am hurting, and this feels really difficult right now. I am doing my best to show up for my family and those who need me. And this feels hard."
Take a moment to consciously label the emotion you're experiencing.
Pay attention to where you feel it in your body.
Ask yourself what this emotion needs to feel okay in this moment. It might be a deeper breath, a conversation with a friend, some rest, or a calming walk.
Stay with the feeling until you notice it shifting within your body and gradually releasing.
#2 Shake It Out.
In really chaotic times, when we are completely overwhelmed or confused with what to do, or you can’t seem to slow down speak to the emotions, think Taylor Swift! No joke. Shake It Out.
Turn on your favourite song, or do this in silence.
You can begin by moving your feet, up to the legs, into the hips and torso, arms and hands, even turning the head.
Releasing any tension you may feel naturally in body; release tightness in the chest, jawline or hips.
Simply allow the body to dance, jump, swing to its own rhythm; fast or slow.
Only stopping when the body feels like it has released all it needs to.
Moving our bodies helps us break up stagnant energy and shift ourselves into a totally new realm of thinking and feeling. So the next time you are holding onto difficult emotions or negative thought patterns, this can be your path to peace.
#3 Breathe - One for me, one for you.
I'd like to introduce a simple breathing exercise that connects you with compassion for your own well-being in challenging moments and extends peace and support to others. When we recognize our own struggles, it's common to feel guilt and pain for those around us. There may even be resistance to gentle self-care practices. If this resonates with you, it's completely normal. This beautiful breath practice allows us to energetically offer strength and support to both ourselves and those who are also facing difficulties.
Here's how it works:
Begin by focusing your attention on your in-breath, envisioning a bright golden light entering your body. With each inhale, offer yourself what you need, whether it's compassion, strength, courage, or simply rest.
Now, shift your focus to the out-breath. Visualize a beautiful white light leaving your body as you exhale. Direct this light towards a specific person or group of people you have in mind. As you exhale, send them your feelings of compassion, support, strength, courage, love, or whatever positive energy you wish to convey.
Continue this rhythmic practice: inhale for yourself, exhale for them. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary until you're ready to release the exercise.
Kindly remember that these practices are vulnerable yet supportive. Only move through what makes you feel right in the moment.
I hope they comfort you and even energy to take on this week, as we look to help support ourselves, each other and extend a line of care to those around the world.