First Nations Health Directors Association


A Mentorship Minute – Episode #2: Self-Compassion

March 1st, 2022

Welcome to the second episode of A Mentorship Minute – a new monthly blog from FNHDA!

As I write this, February is coming to a close, and I reflect that this time of year represents an interesting beat in the cadence of the year; it is still winter, yet in many parts of the province spring is already preparing her entrance. For many of us winter is the season for storytelling – for reflecting on the past year, spending time in quiet restorative activities, and gathering our energy for the year ahead. As the days lengthen my thoughts turn to the outdoors, and I find myself a little less content to spend an afternoon curled up with a book and a cup of tea – I still relish the peaceful escape into the pages of a well written tale, but some part of my mind thinks I ‘should’ be doing something more active or being more ‘productive’.

Kimberley and Kali enjoying a late-winter walk in the Callaghan Valley near Whistler

Setting goals, and making plans to fulfil them, is a healthy part of personal wellness planning. However, I need to remind myself that practicing kindness applies to myself as well. I am excited at the prospect of warmer weather, and hopeful that the pandemic may be easing. As I prepare to re-enter the world I commit to being gentle with myself. I give myself permission to take it slowly, to listen to my body, mind and spirit, and remember that I don’t have to accomplish all my goals on the first warm sunny day!

FNHDA champions practicing kindness in our lives and our work, and is committed to transforming lateral violence into lateral kindness. When we direct our kindness towards ourselves, we call this self-compassion. Many of us have heard of mindfulness and the benefits it can bring to our lives – you may be working to develop your ability to connect more deeply with your world through mindful practice, and that is fantastic!  When we think about our own personal goals, applying mindfulness without kindness may make us self-critical. Self-compassion is a skill we can develop to be gentle with ourselves – in the same way that we are supportive and encouraging when a loved one is struggling to reach a goal, we can be compassionate with our own journey.

Do you ever beat yourself up because you didn’t do what you were ‘supposed to’ do – I know I do! When I want to reset my personal kindness, I take this self-compassion quiz from Greater Good Science Centre. The results tell me how kind I am being to myself in this moment, and offer suggestions for building my practice of self-compassion. I encourage you to give it a try, and if you want to drop me a line and share your thoughts on self-compassion, I would love to hear from you! As Senior Specialist, my role with FNHDA is to provide support to Health Directors – whether you have a question about navigating the health governance structure, are looking for resources, have a Wise Practice or training idea you want to share, or pretty much anything at all – please drop me a line – I look forward to connecting with you!!

See you next month for another Mentorship Minute!

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