Find 5 minutes to ask yourself ‘questions that matter’ to help you to develop a quiet mind, and practice kindness and compassion towards yourself, whatever is going on in your world.
For example, it can used when people are by themselves, or perhaps with someone they trust. It can be used before or after a shift, or during down time when people may be reflecting on work finished or planning the next run of shifts. It might be helpful for people who haven’t yet manged to attend the team/group version, and it might even inspire some people to run a 10-min Pause Space (#10minPauseSpace) too.
Asking questions that matter is one of three teachable compassion habits drawn from Andy Bradley’s Compassion Circle practice, the others being Listening with a quiet mind and Appreciating from the heart.
These compassion habits have been distilled into a ’10-minute Pause Space’ for the NHS.
Some questions work best when we are asked them by others. Working in pairs allows the answers to be both heard and honoured. This also helps us to commit to our intentions for self-care, when we say them ‘out loud’.
We can, however, still work with these questions outside of a facilitated space. As an act of self-care and compassion, we can ask them of ourselves. We’ve called this 5-min Me Space. It can be used before or after work, in your break or on your days off if you prefer. Use it alone or with a trusted friend or colleague, if you prefer.
Find a quiet moment. Then, using your own name, ask yourself:
[YOUR NAME], what does caring for yourself mean to you?
Some people like to speak their answers out loud, and some to make some notes or do something creative to capture thoughts and feelings such as a picture or collage. Others will need to ponder the question for longer. When you run out of things to say, ask yourself: ‘and anything else?’
Listen to your own answers with kindness and congratulate yourself for taking the time and care to ask the question.
Remember, some of the most compassionate people put others first and themselves last. Thinking about caring for ourselves often takes practice.
When you have finished answering the first question, invite yourself to commit to a self-care intention with our second question:
‘To be wise, kind and compassionate towards myself I will…’
Notice what you have promised yourself. Again, think about how you will move this intention into action: make a note, tell someone else, create a reminder, a process or a new habit. What will work for you?
Non-urgent advice: How was your Me Space?
How was your Me Space? We hope that you feel more confident about practicing compassion and kindness towards yourself and perhaps feel a little renewed as a result too.
If you would like to share this practice with others, please do pass on the 5-Min Me Space and you might also want to explore the 10-min Pause Space too.