Take time for self-care with the P.A.C.E practice

Permission: We quite often take the time to tell others to look after themselves, but don't prioritize granting ourself permission for self-care. Try using a phrase to encourage some self-care, such as, “I offer myself this opportunity for well-being.’’ Or perhaps you’ll physically move into a space which signals to your body and brain that it’s time to take some time for yourself. Consciously granting yourself permission to care for yourself in this way sets an intention to do so.

Awareness and Anchor: Next, bring your awareness to your present moment experience. Notice any areas of tension or tightness in the body. See where at points in the day you have any residual constriction in your body. Observe any physical sensations you have, along with your thoughts and thought patterns in the here and now. If any unpleasant emotions arise as you are doing this, I invite you to anchor in the breath, breathing fully and deeply as you stay with your experience.

Compassion: Now that you are aware of your present physical and mental state, consider turning toward yourself with kindness. What might you do in this moment to offer yourself kindness, just as you would offer to a friend or colleague. Might you soothe yourself with an embrace? If you like, place your hands on your heart and sense care streaming through your fingers. Might you offer yourself some words of kindness or encouragement as you are doing this?

Envision: When you feel ready to, consider yourself stepping into the next moment and all future moments with a sense of well-being, seeing and feeling yourself having energy and vitality, stay with your exploration for as long as you can and notice if there are any shifts in your mental and/or physical state? Keep in mind that well-being is an ongoing exploration. We can always test and try moments of self-care. When you are ready to come out of the Envision stage, consider what you might carry forward from this P.A.C.E. practice into the rest of your day.

Practice by Dr Reena Kotecha

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