Stroke Education Series -- Self Care "Moments" with a Lens of Compassion

Stroke Education Series — Self Care “Moments” with a Lens of Compassion


Self-care includes all the health behaviors that help you balance the effects of emotional and physical stress. They are the main things your body needs to stay healthy such as regular body
movement and exercise, periods of rest and recovery, healthy eating, and good sleep practices.

Key Takeaways:
• Self-care is about valuing your body and believing that your needs matter, too. You need time to rest, recover, and restore your energy so you can function at your best.
• Give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do most in that moment (e.g., get up and move, stretch, go to bed earlier, get a nutritious snack or meal, ask for help).
• Talk about and encourage self-care with others. This can give you new ideas and help make it a normal and shared value system within your key support network.

How to Improve It:
Make a habit to check in with yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself, “how is my body doing, and what do I need most in this moment to feel better?”

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is any behavior that helps us balance the effects of physical and emotional stress.

  • Periods of rest
  • Body movement
  • Healthy eating
  • Moments of gratitude
  • Engaging with community and support systems

Compassion as Self-Care:

Give yourself permission to reframe self-talk and treat self with compassion.

  • Being kind to yourself
  • Being honest with yourself about your limits
  • Setting realistic goals and expectations
  • Asking for help
  • Celebrating small victories
  • Check in with yourself

Permission Giving as Self-Care:

Give yourself permission to be present with your emotions and acknowledge how the emotions may be piling up.

  • Take deep breaths
  • Take a moment of silence
  • Slow down and name the emotion you’re feeling

Emotional Agility as a Processing Tool:

Emotional agility is a 3-step process for emotional expression. Rather than viewing emotions as positive or negative, this process connects emotions to a value or something we care about.  

  • 1st step: Acknowledge how you are feeling without judgement
    • I notice feeling….
  • 2nd step: Connect your emotions to something you value or care about
    • Which means I value/care about…
  • 3rd step: Engage in an action that helps align yourself with the value or is something you can control (such as positive self-talk)
    • I choose to act…

Self-Compassion Break:

Taking a self-compassion break is another 3-step process to practice self-care.

  • 1st step: Name how you’re feeling without judgement
  • 2nd step: Remind yourself that it is natural and normal to have emotions
  • 3rd step: Reframe your self-talk and give yourself kindness and compassion

Breathing Exercises:

1st Exercise:

Think of a supportive word or phrase that makes you calm and pair it with deep breaths. Over time, when you hear these words, your brain will be conditioned to calm your stress response.

  • “I can do hard things.”
  • “I’ve got this”
  • “Whatever happens, I can handle it.”

2nd Exercise:

When you inhale, imagine you are breathing in compassion for yourself and validate the emotion you are feeling.

When you exhale, imagine you are breathing out compassion to another person and validate their emotions.

Holding Two Different Thoughts at One Time:

When you notice a stressful or strong emotion coming, acknowledge it without judgement. Then, think of a truth alongside it that makes you feel safe, strong, or supported.

  • “I feel like I’m not doing enough AND I’m doing what I have the capacity to do in this moment.”

Self-Care Summary:

Self-care is about valuing your own well-being and believing that your needs matter too.

  • You deserve time to rest, recover, and restore energy
  • Give yourself permission to do what you need to do in the moment
  • Talk about and encourage self-care with your loved ones
  • Reframe self-talk to be compassionate and kind