I Notice How Awesome You Are!
It's Thanksgiving time in the States which means everyone is talking about gratitude.
I have many thoughtful things to say about gratitude. Like how having a regular gratitude practice and cultivating a more positive outlook has helped me to evolve from a crusty do-gooder with a chip on my shoulder to a more resilient, compassionate person that can be present to suffering (both my own and that of others) with some ease and way more kindness.
But those deep thoughts are for another time. Right now, I have to bake vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies for tomorrow. I know you want one, so here's the recipe.
Instead let me just say this: My work is a big part of my gratitude practice. Because every time I teach a compassion fatigue class I am floored by how deeply I value all of you and the work you do in our world. I am grateful for my own work because it allows me to help others, which really matters to me. And I notice how awesome you are. I am grateful for what you do. You help me feel like the world is still ok, even though bad things happen. It's a heart-busting-wide-open kind of gratitude. Thank you.
On a more practical note, I'm also super grateful for technology because it helps me to stick with healthy practices that support me in my work. Here are two helpful apps I use (no one paid me to promote them, in case you were wondering):
Stop Breathe & Think - there are a lot of great meditation apps out there, so there's no excuse not to try anymore! I like this free one for a few reasons: they're a non-profit dedicated to spreading compassion, there is a helpful feature where you name your emotions before you begin and they recommend guided meditations that suit your emotional state (which forces you to be aware of and name your emotions, right avoiders?!), and you can spend a buck to get guided meditations from kd lang. That velvety voice! It's also available on the web, so if you don't use apps, you can just log on from your laptop.
TruReach - this one is pretty unique and I use it when I need help challenging my negative thoughts and pushing back on anxious feelings. The app breaks cognitive behavior therapy into easy to understand lessons and gives you tools to better assess what's really going on. Basically, it helps me to challenge my worst case scenarios and reminds me that I have the skills to cope with challenges. The first 11 lessons are free, then you have to pay $8 to access the last few lessons. Even if you just use the fee parts, I bet you'll find it helpful. Disclaimer this is not a substitute for professional mental health help. But you knew that.
And here's one final thought about gratitude: If you are in a leadership role in your organization, please make an effort to express your appreciation for your staff - generally a sensitive and empathetic bunch - and do it regularly. It makes a HUGE difference in morale, increases compassion satisfaction, reduces burnout and fatigue, and will help them to continue to do good work. #Winning
So, please say something, write something, or if you're in a pinch you can use my favorite sticky notes or these cheeky cards or these ones. Plus here's some really great advice on exactly how to be an appreciative leader.
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