Dear Friends

How are you?  Did you manage to get through the 732 days of January with some semblance of feeling grounded and connected?  In January, I invited you to give yourself some permission to show up just as you are, how did that feel?  Showing up as yourself takes courage and strength and energy. And that was exactly what I gave myself permission to do in January. It’s not always easy to figure out who you are, what you need, how to show up. But when we give ourselves permission to ask ourselves what do I need, and then continue to listen to the answers with compassion and kindness, even when it’s hard, we can continue to show up with presence and awareness. If getting through this past month of January felt excruciatingly long, you’re not alone. It definitely felt like a long month for me, and by the end, I was feeling, like so many others, rather exhausted.

Pandemic fatigue is settling in: dark cold nights are making things challenging and people are feeling more lonely and disconnected. I’ve noticed this, especially at school. I miss my colleagues whom I used to be able to offer a hug and share lunch and now can go through weeks without seeing their faces. I’m finding creative ways to try and stay connected – by running after school with a colleague, to leaving messages and gifts randomly in their boxes at school, to sending funny memes to try and brighten their days. How are you finding ways to continue to connect?

I know I’m not alone, as many of you have shared with me that you feel this loneliness and disconnect too. However, we continue to do what is right for all humans in this world. We continue to stay home, stay safe and be healthy.

So through February, knowing we need to stay the line through this pandemic, I am offering you permission to really be kind and to love yourself amongst the feelings of fatigue, and loneliness.  Permission to deeply care for yourself. And… I’m not just talking about self-care (which is essential and important).
I’m talking about loving yourself when it’s hard.
I’m talking about deeply caring for your well-being and mental health.
I’m talking about talking to yourself in a kind and compassionate voice.
I’m talking about soothing yourself amongst the challenges.

What could it look like for you this month to offer yourself the same amount of love and kindness as you do other people in your life? 

I went last week and got Valentine’s candies and hearts for my kids. I do an activity every year where I put a heart each day from February 1st to the 14th on their bedroom door for a reason I love them. As I was getting this ready I thought what would I say to myself? What ” loving hearts” can I offer myself during this month?

Self-compassion is becoming one of the most sought after practices as the expanding research shows that it grows our resilience, increases our happiness and wellness, and can lower the criticism and perfectionism that so many of us deal with on a regular basis.  Does this sound familiar to you?
Or, like something you’d like to practice? 

One of my favourite practices is to write myself a letter from my compassionate voice. I invite you to try this exercise, and then throughout this month read the letter to yourself regularly as you continue to give yourself permission to love yourself and to show up in a compassionate way.

The Practice:
Write a letter to yourself from your most compassionate inner voice, rather than your critical voice that is often so common. You can practice listening to your compassionate voice whenever you are struggling or feeling inadequate or when you want to help motivate yourself. There are three ways you can write this letter (Germer & Neff, 2019b):

  1. Think of an imaginary friend who is unconditionally wise, loving, and compassionate, and write a letter to yourself from the perspective of your friend.

  2. Write a letter as if you were talking to a dearly beloved friend who was struggling with the same concerns as you.

  3. Write a letter from the compassionate part of yourself that is struggling right now.

How will you give yourself permission to love yourself this month?
Email me and tell me, or even better join the Self-Compassion for Educators Facebook group and share your favourites with our community.

Don’t forget to download the permission slip below to remind yourself daily – you have permission to love yourself!

Lastly. I’ll be hosting a half-day online AWE retreat on Saturday, Feb 6th that will focus on self-compassion, mindfulness, connecting with like-minded educators and some gentle yoga.  Registration is still open and filling with educators from across North America. I hope you’ll join us.

Be well, everyone.

With kindness,

So this year, I’d like to offer something different: Twelve Permissions – one for each month – that together will help you feel kinder, stronger, and calmer.

12 permission slips for 2021

  1. To show up just as you are
  2. To love yourself and treat yourself kindly
  3. To get to know your thoughts 
  4. To find beauty in life
  5. To keep growing and learning 
  6. To celebrate 
  7. To play
  8. To get to know your body 
  9. To grow your community
  10. To get to know your feelings 
  11. To practice gratitude 
  12. To pause 

This year of doing less, striving less and instead, accepting ourselves just as we are!

Here’s to living in 2021 with hope, compassion and kindness.

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