Alex finds strength in self-compassion
COVID-19 needs no introduction. It’s the talk of the town all over the world and mentioned daily on every news outlet and social media platform.
This series of articles is not about COVID-19. It’s about you.
Our newsletter Weathering the Storm is a source of curated tips and strategies to help you weather the COVID-19 storm. This newsletter is inspired by actual clients* and written by experienced psychologists.
*All client names are fictional and presenting issues are composites of client experiences.
Over the last few weeks, Alex has been feeling increasingly fatigued and unproductive.
Despite the pandemic, he has lots of work to accomplish and still has deadlines to meet. His instinct is to try harder, but he’s upset with himself because he feels he’s not keeping up like others.
Our recommendation : self-compassion.
You may be thinking easier said than done ? We agree.
To practice self-compassion, it’s helpful to understand the three essential elements it consists of : self-kindness, shared humanity and mindfulness.
If a friend was struggling and feeling bad about themselves, how would Alex respond? He would reassure them by being kind, caring and nonjudgmental. Self-kindness is defined by doing this simple act …with yourself.
In this situation, practising self-compassion would help Alex avoid self-criticism and disappointment by instead realizing and accepting it’s okay if every item on his daily to-do list is not checked-off.
Our tip : To help bring out self-kindness within you, we recommend using the double-standard approach. Read our blog post to find out all you need to know about this technique.
Even though we may feel alone, it’s important to remember we are all in this together. Realizing and accepting this lifts a huge weight off our shoulders. On the other hand, refusing to accept the reality we are in increases stress and frustration.
Speaking with friends and reading articles in the news, Alex realizes most people are finding it harder than ever to meet their deadlines. Coming to this realization helps Alex practice self-compassion as his suffering and perceived shortcomings become a reflection of a shared human experience (i.e. the pandemic) and not specific to himself.
Our tip : When things we can’t control start to get the best of us, why not repeat this simple phrase we recommend in our blog article here – check it out !
During these unprecedented times, our thoughts and emotions can easily get the best of us.
In this situation, when Alex realizes he is frustrated, he should pause and acknowledge how he’s feeling in the very moment ( ‘‘I’m experiencing frustration’’) and then, without judgement, remind himself emotions are part of life (i.e. ‘‘Frustrations are a part of life’’).
Our tip : Try to be aware of your thoughts and emotions without negatively judging them. Doing this can help prevent destructive emotions and thoughts overpowering us.
Practising self-compassion is easier said than done. But when done, we realize the power it holds. Strung together, moments of self-compassion will not only better our day… but better our lives.
We welcome you to leave comments as well as questions in the discussion section so we can try to answer some of them in upcoming posts.
PsyVitalitï is a network of licensed psychologists, psychotherapists and therapists offering psychotherapy services throughout Canada.
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