Practice Self-Care in 5 Minutes or Less During 2020 COVID-19 Holiday Season

The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed how we connect with each other and our holiday celebrations. Many of us are unable to see, touch, and show affection towards our loved ones in person. Most of us have to follow mask and social distancing guidelines when we spend time with them. Living this way has left so many of us starving for physical touch.

Physical touch is a basic human need. Going without it for long periods can impact our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Giving ourselves daily hugs is one mindful self-care practice we can use to strengthen our well-being.

Hugging yourself is a FREE self-care practice that requires less than five minutes of your time. It offers you an opportunity to practice loving kindness and strengthen your resiliency. A self-hug is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. All you have to do is decide and set an intention to give yourself a hug or hugs on a daily basis. Once you set your intention, take action and watch how your self-hugs turn into acts of self-love and self-empowerment.

Did you know that when you hug yourself, your body releases the hormone, oxytocin, the “love hormone”? Oxytocin helps reduce stress and tension by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. It also lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and improves moods.

Hugging yourself for 20 seconds or more is a serotonin booster. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. It helps you feel happy, calm, and confident.

Consider following the advice of family therapist Virginia Satir who is famous for saying, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

In an effort to help you navigate the 2020 COVID-19 holiday season, the Thriving Mindfully Academy has created the Self-Hug Challenge. It is rooted in our HUG3 self-care practice. HUG3 is an acronym that stands for:

H: Hold space for yourself with

U: Unconditional Love

G3: Grace, Growth, and Gratitude

May it inspire you to take better care of yourself with a daily hug!

Self-Hug Challenge Tips: To help you get started with the Self-Hug Challenge, we have included tips to support you.

30-Day Self-Hugs: Try 1 hug for 20 seconds per day. Consider giving yourself a hug in the morning before you get out of bed. If the morning doesn’t work, take a mid-day hug break or end your day with a hug before you go to sleep.

60-Day Self-Hugs: Try 4 or more hugs that last 1 minute or more per day. Notice how the increase in hugs makes you feel. If it feels good, add more hugs to your day.

90-Day Self-Hugs: Make hugging a self-care maintenance practice with 8 or more hugs per day.

120-Day Self-Hugs: Take your hug life to the next level of growth with 12 or more hugs per day.

Additional Resources: Check out the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s resources and virtual meditation classes.


Self-Care Awareness Month

Loving Kindness Month

Register for the Thriving Mindfully Academy meditation classes in November and December.

Eventbrite: November 30 at 7-7:30 PM ET via Zoom

Eventbrite: December 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 7-7:30 PM ET via Zoom

Take A Step in the Direction of Kindness on World Kindness Day

I think we all need to slow down and celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13th given everything that has happened to us in 2020. World Kindness Day has become one of my favorite days to recommit to my loving kindness practices. It was launched in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness nongovernmental organizations to highlight good deeds in the community that focus on the positive power of making kindness the norm and bringing people together to celebrate our common humanity.

I believe kindness starts in our hearts with an understanding and acceptance that we deserve it. When we claim and accept our own kindness and treat ourselves with gentleness, nonjudgment, patience, and tolerance FIRST, we strengthen our ability to be kind to our loved ones and others. That’s what I call taking a step in the direction of kindness!

May we all be inspired on World Kindness Day to take a step in the direction of kindness. May the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Loving Kindness Month resources below help you in your kindness journey.

Loving Kindness Month Resources

Random Acts of Kindness’ World Day of Kindness

VIDEO: 10 Ways to Give Yourself Loving Kindness

Do You Need An Election 2020 Self-Care Check-In?

Yesterday, I cried when I heard the U.S. Election 2020 news that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won. My tears were intense and filled with deep gratitude and relief. I rode my bike down to Black Lives Matter Plaza to celebrate with the DC community. Seeing the diverse group of people celebrate and being a part of that celebration filled my heart with unspeakable joy and left me speechless. Check out my photo slideshow.

My tears and emotions were a wake up call. They reminded me of the heaviness I have been carrying during the Election 2020 season. So I decided to do an Election 2020 Self-Care Check-In this week that focuses on loving kindness practices to nourish myself.

This morning, I slowed down with some deep breaths and became still as I reflected on how tough the Election 2020 season has been. I recognized I have experienced many moments of stress and anxiety. My stress and anxiety have been caused by worrying about what is happening to BIPOC, LGBTQ, elderly, and disabled communities. I have overdosed on way too much news and social media. I lost sleep being concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on everyone’s spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health; relationships; finances; and jobs. Worrying about police brutality against BIPOC communities and the safety, security, and education of myself, family, friends, students, teachers, and frontline, healthcare, and service industry workers has also concerned me.

My inner critic Broomie (a nickname for Broomhilda) wants me to get over it and woman up. Broomie judges me harshly at times. She tries to shame me too. Today, I had a heart-to-heart with her. I told her I was womaning up by nurturing myself with loving kindness practices this week, the rest of November which is Loving Kindness Month, December, and 2021!

Loving kindness is the act of befriending yourself with gentleness and nonjudgment in all you feel, think, say, and do. We all deserve it. It is one of the best ways to practice self-care. Go here to learn more about it and Loving Kindness Month.

If you have experienced stress, anxiety, fear, and/or trauma as a result of the Election 2020 season, COVID-19, police brutality, racial injustice, or economic instability, I invite you to use this week and the rest of the month to focus on practicing self-care with loving kindness for yourself. Use the resources below.


Loving Kindness Practices for Self

Start and/or end your day with a loving kindness moment. All you need are a few minutes (1-5 minutes; take more time if you want to). Begin with three to seven deep breaths. Allow yourself to become still as you breathe. Notice how your body feels. Pay attention to any physical sensations. Become aware of your breath. Observe any sounds and smells around you. Shift your attention to any thoughts in the mind. Just witness the thoughts. Don’t try to push them away or address them. Continue to breathe at your body’s natural rhythm. Start with an intention such as “my intention is to open my heart and offer myself loving kindness.” Use the Loving Kindness Month affirmation and practice above.


Click here to register on Eventbrite.

VIDEO: 10 Ways to Give Yourself Loving Kindness

Take Care of Yourself in November and During Election Week with Loving Kindness Month Meditation Classes & Resources

Happy November & Loving Kindness Month Groovy People! 

2020 has been a year like no other. So many things have happened to us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic instability, divisive politics, fake news, and the constant acts of injustice, oppression, and violence against indigenous and people of color, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and LGBTQ communities. In an effort to provide support to everyone, I am using the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s platform to launch Loving Kindness Month this month to remind us all of the power we have to slow down and take better care of ourselves with gentleness and nonjudgment.

I hope you will join us this month as we shift our 2020 energy and mindset with weekly themes, a weekly Mindful Monday meditation class first class starts tonight at 7-7:30 PM ET), an online retreat (details will be provided later this week), and other resources including new podcast episodes, a YouTube playlist, and more. 

Go here to learn more about Loving Kindness Month. Share the events and resources with your family, friends, and colleagues!