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An image of Clare McRobbie - Valleys Steps Course Practitioner

It’s that time of the year

Christmas in a Pandemic 2020

Christmas can be a stressful time of year, but this? is not a normal year?. We are in the middle of a pandemic and so I want to share with you a short practice that you can do at any time of the day when you feel upset,? challenged or a bit of a low mood?.I learned this technique many years? ago.. Let me explain?.

In 1995 I was working as a teacher in a Secondary School in Glasgow and I attended a? workshop about Emotional Intelligence. I met a GP who believed in the power of meditation,? compassion and kindness to overcome stress and anxiety and ran a meditation class from? her house for friends.

She invited me to join her wee meditation group with 8 other people and I gladly accepted? as my stress levels were high and this was exactly what I needed. I was a single mum with? 2 young children and a busy teacher. The group met once a fortnight at her house and she? taught us Mindfulness, although at that time no one had heard of Mindfulness it was just? called meditation practice. We sat on chairs in a circle and we did what I would now call a? Mindfulness Compassion practice. Here is the short version of this wonderful Mindfulness? Practice that Dr Tinto taught me back in 1995.

I know that this Christmas will be different and there will be so many challenges along the? way ? staying safe in a time of holidays and family time is going to be difficult. I do really? believe that things will get better in 2021 and I recommend that you stay as optimistic as? you can and be kind to yourself.

Try this practice that Dr Tinto taught me all those years ago and is now taught in Mindfulness? courses and is backed up by scientific research to show that practicing Mindfulness for? kindness and Self- compassion reduces stress and improves our wellbeing.

A Mindfulness Self Compassion Practice for Christmas

Do this self-compassion break regularly or when you feel upset or distressed. This creates and strengthens the neural pathways in the brain that then learn to do this shifting and re-conditioning to build our resilience to being able to cope more skilfully to stressful situations that life throws at us in a Pandemic.??

1. Any time you notice some difficult emotions arising stop what you are doing. Place your hand on your heart (this activates the release of oxytocin, the hormone of love and trust).?

2. Take 5 mindful breaths, following the sensation of the breath in the body.

3. Be kind to yourself and recognise and turn towards the difficulty, the challenge you? face and say to yourself, ?I?m finding this hard!? or ?this is difficult!? or whatever? words feel right for you. Acknowledging and caring for yourself as you experience something distressing.?

4. Repeat these phrases to yourself (or whatever words work best for you)


May I be as kind to myself as I possibly can be in this moment?

May I accept myself exactly as I am in this moment?

May I allow things to be as they are in this moment with kindness and compassion


By Clare McRobbie

Course Wellbeing Practitioner