Self-Compassion During COVID-19
I know we all are going through so much as we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. We are trying our best to get through each day while holding it together. When we are going through a challenging time, we often continue to take care of our loved ones but forget to take care of ourselves. Hard times require us to to make sure we are being self-compassionate during COVID-19.
You never see a marathon winner cross the finish line being hard on themselves or by engaging in negative self talk. That would actually prevent a runner from completing anything that difficult. Does your daily routine incorporate self-care and self-compassion? Or are you forgetting about taking care of yourself while taking care of everyone else?
As I write this post, my eyes are tearing up thinking about what all of us are going through. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone on our planet, as we all are in this battle together. I’m with you in waiting for this pandemic to be over. When we can return to being with friends, family, neighbors and community. But until then, here are some good things to do for yourself to help get you through COVID-19.
Some Important Steps We All Need to do to Take Care of Ourselves:
1) First, “Feel Your Feelings”…Give Yourself Permission to Feel Whatever Emotions You are Having.
In the midst of everything, you need to take care of your mental well-being. As women, we already had to do so much before our world was turned upside down. And now we have to shift again with more responsibilities. Making sure our families have food at each meal, homeschooling, balancing life/work under the same roof as our family struggles to keep going themselves. As a daughter of an elderly parent, there are even more responsibilities, concerns and precautions in taking care of our loved ones.
At the end of the day, you are left exhausted from the ever changing news, responsibilities, holding your stuff together so everyone else remains calm. All eyes are on you. If you hold it together, we believe our family will feel more secure and better manage this storm. But where are you? Are you feeling overwhelmed, going through the motions, feeling disconnected from self and letting go of dreams you were ready to have?
Are you sleeping well? Turning to food or alcohol for comfort as you try and numb those scary voices down? Is your anxiety or depression taking over leaving you more short with others or keep stuffing your feelings down? Never finding time and truly dealing with your rollercoaster of emotions.
It’s very important to feel you feelings. I know when people are uncomfortable, they do anything but allow themselves to feel their emotions. Running from your emotions will hurt you in the long run. So, no matter how messy your emotions may be, feel them. They won’t hurt you, but they will propel you to what you need. You may just need to reconnect with friends over a phone call or FaceTime. Maybe you need to take a nap, watch a movie, read a book, go for a walk or start a hobby.
2) Embrace Imperfection
This is not the time for striving for perfection. If you have some piles of things you need to put away that are still lingering, that’s okay. If you have dishes in the sink, laundry piling up, kids learning for less than 6 hours a day, not able to be lighthearted, having cereal for dinner, etc….then you are doing just fine. Life is not what we once knew it to be. We all are trying to wrap our heads around the news that changes daily, longing for social connections physically face to face, catching up with a friend during a Panera breakfast/lunch. Heck I even want my Starbucks in a Starbucks cup because it just tastes better, then my Pikes Place in my favorite coffee mug at home.
I feel with you in all of the limitations imposed to keep us safe, push down the curve and hopefully remain healthy. I don’t like change either, especially when it’s not a change we want to embrace. So let go of perfection, because change hard enough. You don’t need to be hard on yourself.
3) Allow Vulnerability to be Okay to Have
We don’t like feeling vulnerable. It feels uncomfortable and we feel exposed when we feel vulnerable. Like something is wrong with us. It’s okay that you are feeling uncomfortable. You are not alone. All of us feel uncomfortable. At times, I cry from overload of information. I admit, I’m vulnerable. We all are. If you are human, you’re vulnerable. So we need to embrace our vulnerability, not hide it. By embracing our vulnerability, it allows us to connect with our loved ones as we are going through this together. Embracing our vulnerability may even help our loved ones embrace their emotions without shame.
4) And Ditch Shame
The inner dialogue you have with yourself is important to be aware of and possibly change. Are you telling yourself that there is something wrong with you because: you’re not as productive since COVID-19 as you used to be, you’re not doing enough at home/work/kids, or any critical statements about yourself, you’ve got an Unwanted Guest called “The Inner Critic.” Having The inner critic is a voice of Shame. Shame tells us that there is something wrong with us, especially when it comes our self-worth and emotions. But shame is liar.
There is nothing wrong with you or your feelings. You are going through a life experience you were not trained in how to handle, nor what emotions would come with a pandemic. You are allowed to cry, be unproductive, sleep, have dishes in the sink and not be at the top of your game. This pandemic is not about perfection. It’s about survival and how to stay calm in the midst of chaos.
Okay, But What Else Can I Do?
If anxiety, sadness, loneliness or any difficult emotion is flooding you, I am here to help. I will listen without judgement and I will teach you techniques that will get you feeling more like yourself, despite what is going on in our world. You don’t have to stay stuck in anxiety or depression. I am providing TeleHealth services through a HIPPA compliant platform. This allows us to begin working together now. For more information, please contact me at today.