mindfulness with Canuck Place

Thank you for joining us for our week of mindfulness. You can view all of the videos, tips, and practices below. We hope you will be able to use them to apply mindful thought to your own life.

Special thanks to Dr. Mark Lau, R. Psych. from the Vancouver CBT Centre; Canuck Place counsellor, Susan Poitras, and Cherie and Charlie-Anne.

Catch Up on our Mindfulness Series

Signals of Holiday Stress

Signals of Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a source of stress for anyone. It’s important to be able to identify when stressors appear. For Canuck Place families, it can be an especially difficult time, so we spoke with Dr. Mark Lau, R.Psych.  about identifying early signs of stress.

4 Tips for Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress Tips

Dr. Mark Lau, R.Psych. shared 4 tips on dealing with stress during the holidays.

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Be realistic about what you can accomplish
  3. Learn to say “No”
  4. Seek out support

Learn more about each point in Dr. Lau’s video.

Mindfulness with Children

mindfulness with children

Canuck Place counsellor, Susan Poitras works on mindful practices with Canuck Place children and siblings.

Susan explains one of the ways she walks children through the concept of mindfulness and how to handle overpowering emotions… With a piece of gum.


Mindful Breathing with Charlie Anne

Mindful breathing with Charlie Anne

Eight year-old Charlie-Anne is a Canuck Place child diagnosed with SMA Type-1. Along with her mom, Cherie, she demonstrates her own mindful breathing exercises she learned at Canuck Place.

Living with Compassion

Living with compassion

May I be happy.

May I be well.

May I be free of suffering.

May I be at peace.

 During the holidays, it can be hard to make space and time for ourselves and our emotions. The ability to be compassionate to ourselves is an important ability. In the way that we may acknowledge the pain of someone else, self-compassion involves us acting this way towards ourselves. Self-compassion means being caring, and non-judgemental, when confronted with difficult thoughts and feelings; thoughts and feelings that may involve self-judgement, guilt, or blame. Self-compassion opens our heart, and makes space for, our own humanness.

5 Tips to Practice Self-Compassion

  • Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is self-kindness vs self-judgement. It is the purposeful intention to be warm and understanding with ourselves when we suffer, rather than ignoring or judging our pain.
  • Challenge Self-Criticism. Self-criticism can sabotage ourselves and increase our feelings anxiety and depression.
  • Practice Mindful Breathing. Throughout a day, take some mindful breaths. Place a hand over your heart and notice your breathing. Pay attention to your breaths and notice what they feel like in your body. Kind physical gestures can have an immediate calming effect on our minds.
  • Extend Compassion to others. Self-compassion is connected to compassion towards others. When we struggle, we can feel isolated and alone. Extending compassion to ourselves and others recognizes that we may not need to feel isolated in our pain and grief.
  • Act with Intention. Repeat the sentences above to yourself in efforts to purposefully extend compassion and well-being to yourself. To extend compassion to another, replace ‘I’ with ‘you’.

Remembering Through Rituals

Remembering through rituals

The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice counselling team works with bereaved siblings of all ages.

Siblings can receive counselling one-on-one, in addition to attending weekly sibling groups. These groups are sometimes the only place these kids have to connect with other people their age who can truly understand what they’re going through.

The groups are a time for children to remember their siblings and share their feelings, while being reminded that they are not alone.


Each session contains several rituals:

Candles: Each child decorates a candle holder for their sibling. They are lit during group, then blown out after singing a song together.

Talking Stick: To help ensure that everyone can express themselves, the holder of the talking stick has permission to speak, while everyone else has permission to listen.

Stone Ceremony: When a sibling is ready to leave the support group, they are given a small bag of three stones. Two stones are smooth, representing the healing and hard work of grief. The third stone is rough, representing the grief they continue to carry with them. The stones are passed around the circle, where each person has an opportunity to speak a wish for the person, or acknowledge the contribution they have offered the group with their presence.

Mindfulness for Parents

Mindfulness for parents

Mindfulness can be a huge source of support for Canuck Place parents, with guidance from the counselling team, parents work on:

  • Cultivating relationships with their children
  • Bringing intention and conscious engagement to meeting the needs of their children
  • Communicating unconditional love through the quality of their presence
  • Living in the moment, and accept what they can and cannot control
  • Reminding themselves what is truly important.

The counselling team works with Canuck Place families on mindful parenting practices that can be applied to anyone:

  • Try to imagine the world from your child’s perspective
  • Imagine how you may appear or sound from the point of view of your child
  • Be mindful of the expectations you hold for your child.
  • Take a moment to breathe. Silence can be good.
  • Practicing living in a moment, without trying to change anything
  • Look for opportunities to meet the needs of yourself and your child
  • Apologize if you betray their trust or respect
  • Every child is special and unique. All have special needs
  • Be intentional when setting clear limits
  • The greatest gift you can give is yourself.


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