By Christine Moffa, MS, RN, AJN clinical editor
I can’t resist acknowledging that dreaded day that’s coming up this weekend. Whether you are a believer in Valentine’s Day or a skeptic who thinks it was created by greeting card companies and florists, you can’t escape it. There are commercials all over TV, signs in every drug store, and now a movie with it in the title (which I had planned on seeing, until I read some reviews). My personal feeling has been that it makes single people feel lonely and pathetic and people in relationships disappointed with the ones they have. Not to mention that it’s impossible to get a good meal at a decent restaurant. A friend of mine who’s a social worker told me she’s thankful it falls on a weekend so she will be spared dealing with back-to-back appointments of heartbroken clients.
This is the perfect time to practice my latest self-help discovery: mindful self-compassion. Christopher K. Germer, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions (pardon the shameless product plug; neither I nor AJN has been paid off in any way!), posted an exercise on his blog during the holidays this past December that I think is a good fit for getting through this weekend (if you or someone you know finds it difficult). He suggests:
If you feel lonely[…], see if you can stop and name the experience (“I’m terribly lonely”) and give yourself the kindness you might be hoping to receive if you were with someone who cared about you. Think what your best friend would say to you if she or he knew you were lonely. Or think what you might say to a loved one under similar circumstances. Let the holiday be an opportunity to practice self-compassion. Can you prepare a nice meal for yourself, get some needed exercise, write an email to an old friend, or plan a trip that you always wanted to take? Or can you just curl up with your dog or cat and read a great book?