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Sometimes things suck. It's ok. Here are three strategies to still be nice to yourself when things are challenging.
I would argue that self-compassion during challenging times is even more important. If I don't show up for myself, I'm not going to be able to show up to help or serve anyone else.
Here are three strategies I am using right now to help me be a little nicer to myself.
Let's time travel back to your Freshman psychology class and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This is a pyramid representing human needs, and how if our basic needs are not met, then we don't really get to grow as humans.
Level one, the basis for all of this, includes your physiological needs- food, shelter, rest. The next level includes feeling safe and secure. All of these are being challenged or not met as we go through this global health crisis.
These are basic human needs and they are not being met. When I acknowledge this, I can be a little nicer to myself when I'm finding things frustrating or challenging or overwhelming. I'm finding them to be overwhelming, because for me, they are.
Whatever you are feeling is fine. Notice it and recognize it as the valuable information it is. When things really suck, you can feel lots of things all at once, so it can be helpful to more clearly define your feelings. This is a big part of Non-Violent Communication and you can find a helpful chart here.
For instance, I could say to myself, "I'm so upset," or I could be more specific and say, "I'm uneasy," or "I'm unsettled."
I could say to myself, "I'm afraid," which is fine, or I can get more specific and say to myself, "I'm concerned," or "I'm wary."
Have some self-compassion for yourself when you have feelings during a challenging time. It just means you are human.
Identify the feeling, notice it, and use that information to help you. When you can identify the emotion with specificity, you have better data from which to work.
What? When things suck it can be harder to get stuff done. That's fine. If your basic needs are not being met, it can become challenging to still do everything you were doing.
Prioritize what has to get done and start there. What absolutely needs to get done.
Recognize that sometimes good is good enough and sometimes done is better than perfect.
As with everything I offer, I hope this was helpful.
Kristen Neff, 2015, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer, 2019, Teaching the Mindful Self Compassion Program
You can dive deep into some the benefits in Dr. Neff's books above, but here is a helpful summary.
I wish you a healthy, happy, and mostly sane week!
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