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Self-Compassion is for everyone- including therapists

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We are all locked in the house, trapped it sometimes feels like, in our homes. Day after day I increasingly felt lazier and lazier, like I wasn’t doing anything. As I looked on social media, I saw people pouring out content, making posts, coaches and therapists showing how to get through this quarantine, new things that they were up to. Aren’t I a therapist? Aren’t I supposed to be encouraging people? IT’S WHAT I DO RIGHT? This is your time to share what you know Lynell. My chest grew tight, I became frustrated, some self-doubt and negative self-talk began to slide in.

It wasn’t until after I had this weird breakdown that I realized that I tell my clients all the time to be gentle with themselves, engage in self-care, it’s okay to rest. So why was this so hard for me to do? Why was I beating myself up for not getting my normal workout in , or creating blog content, or doing the extra chores around the house that I have been meaning to get around to.

I ran to the calendar to count the amount of time I had been sitting around and saw that it had only been 4 days. Why was I stressing and putting so much pressure on myself about not conquering the world in 4 days? When did I create this unattainable standard for myself? I had to remind myself that I am going through the same crisis as everyone else in the world. I forgot that I need my own time to process and deal with what we are all struggling with. I am processing the same fears and worries as the world , and yet I can’t show that compassion to myself. I am in fact human. How can I preach it but not practice it?

I feel that when I have these moments of realization it’s only right that I share how I overcome them too.

WHATS REAL

I had to tell myself the truth. My truth was it had only been 4 days for crying out loud, you are human, the world is in uproar- it’s okay for you to process that. Some bad habits of perfectionistic tendency showed its color and as we all know, if we keep reaching for “perfect” the goal is never ending.

CREATE SOME FORM OF CONSISTENCY

I decided that I needed to create a schedule for myself. I had to understand that it is difficult going from a fully packed schedule where I am constantly running around to staying at home all day. The way I decided to create my routine was by making mine from day to day. I started by creating a master list of professional things that I needed to get done such as filing my taxes, writing my notes. Then I added things that I wanted to get done such as deep cleaning my kitchen , organizing my pantry, then things I have aspired to get done , such as reading a book, or engaging in a yoga/meditation once a day .You know I have to add things I enjoy such as doing my nails or shaping my eyebrows. I then prioritized the important items that have to get done (unfortunately taxes fall into the category.)

Each night I create a loose routine for myself to include of course my sessions and meeting, but then I sprinkle in the things that I would like to get done that feed my mental health my soul, and my mind; things that I have grabbed from my master list . If I have laundry that needs to get done , I am intentional with myself that I am not required to get it done if I finish my other tasks early and have extra time. I have to question where that comes from – do I feel guilty because my laundry has been sitting there for a few days or do I really just want to get it done and can complete it guilt free. The key is GUILT FREE. I have to remember that my goal is self-compassion not getting all my home tasks done. I have to trust myself that I have prioritized all I have to do in order of importance.

I TOOK A CHILL PILL

Well chill moment meaning meditation. I will say it again MEDITATION. I for one find it so hard to even think about meditating when there is so much chaos going on around me, but it is an amazing way to calm down the noise. Meditation may look different for different people. For some it is setting aside 10 mins to focus on breathing, for others it setting candles and a guided meditation, for some it is spending time in prayer. Focus on what brings you peace.

TAKE A STEP BACK

I stepped away from social media and the news. Let’s face it, all of it is in your face. I decided to take control of what was in my reach and for me that meant deleting apps on my phone and keeping my tv on Netflix and Hulu. Not only was it helpful with taking me away from news and false realities, but it took away distractions so that I can actually get the tasks on my list done.

FOCUS ON THE GOOD

I created a “Things I am grateful for” jar.  In difficult times it can be hard to focus on the good things happening around you but these are the most important times to intentionally think about those moments.  It may help to buy a cheap journal or spiral notebook, create a running notes page on your phone, then write the date and write 2-3 things that you are grateful for each morning. If you can come up with new ones each day that’s great but feel free to repeat items from previous days if you find it difficult. The goal is just to be mindful about writing these things down.

This is a very uncertain time that can bring about justifiable anxiety for many people. We all have to remember to be gentle, compassionate, and forgiving with ourselves while also keeping hopeful and remaining motivated.

I invite you to get mindful with me,

LynellMelra

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