By now we’re all feeling emotionally burdened for numerous reasons related to COVID-19. As we move through this month, you’re probably longing for the life you had this time last year, before the pandemic began. I have so much compassion for all of us right now.
To help you manage this tricky time, I am offering a Valentine’s gift to you: the practice of mindful self-compassion. This is a profound research-based practice that has been around for thousands of years. And this practice is priceless, especially now!
With all the shifts in our lives, even if you are Buddha him-/herself, you have to feel emotionally overwhelmed at times – it’s human nature. To push through, we need to accept the feelings and challenges this pandemic causes and give ourselves the love and grace we need.
Simply asking yourself, “How do I care for myself through this pandemic reality?” is a self-compassionate act. The way you care for yourself now might look differently than it did before, and that’s okay! Check-in daily and ask yourself what you’re needing each day. Even if you cannot fulfill all your needs, try to do what you can. And if you need ideas, here’s a whole interactive list!
Tackling the Mind
More time at home means more time to think, so more time for our inner-bully to attack. Use your mind to control your brain. Invite your inner-observer to catch your shaming and self-blaming scripts. Then replace them with kind words; speak to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-kindness combats fear by creating connection and warmth.
Isolation is problematic. As human beings, we need and desire connection to thrive. Isolation is not our normal state. Another part of self-compassion is realizing all seven and a half billion people on this planet are in the same boat as us. Even if we are alone, we share this experience with common humanity.
Soles of the Feet Exercise
The pandemic can be re-traumatizing for some people – for example, feeling alone or unsafe may trigger traumatic memories. When we feel overwhelmed, this practice anchors our awareness in the present moment. Redirecting your attention from your thoughts to the point of contact between your feet and the earth. This helps anchor and grounding you, allowing you to feel settled in the present.
2-Minute Self-Compassion Break
Say this to yourself when you feel overwhelmed:
I am suffering
The world is suffering.
Let me speak to myself as I would a dear friend.
Want to make it more powerful? Repeat it while looking at yourself in the mirror. Remember, the eyes are the gateway to the soul!
Of course, one self-compassion practice will not immediately change your life. Self-compassion is learned slowly – that’s why it’s called a practice. Perhaps right now, the pandemic is forcing you to embrace these practices because we all have pandemic fatigue. Either way, self-compassion is always at your fingertips.
Stay safe, dear ones. We are in the home stretch!