During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Profile’s Senior Learning and Development Specialist, Natalie Papini, is sharing advice on how you can take care of yourself mentally. Natalie has her Master’s in clinical health psychology and is now hitting the books for her Ph.D. (Which means she is one smart cookie when it comes to health and well-being.)
“When we’re in touch with our common humanity, we remember that feelings of inadequacy and disappointment are shared by all. This is what distinguishes self-compassion from self-pity. Whereas self-pity says, “poor me,” self-compassion remembers that everyone suffers, and it offers comfort because everyone is human.” - Kristin Neff
When faced with uncertainty, it’s normal to go on a roller coaster of emotions and to feel like no one understands. Whatever you’re feeling as a result of your daily routine changing is valid, and it’s important you show yourself kindness. Self-compassion means being kind to yourself when faced with challenges, adversity, or the discomfort of an unknown future. Treating yourself with the same compassion you offer others can help you accept your circumstances without being overwhelmed by them.
The first step in practicing self-compassion is to acknowledge and honor your thoughts and feelings. Think about how you show others (a close friend or family member) kindness and extend that to yourself. Remember: you are not alone during this. We are in this together. Dealing with frustrations and challenges if part of being human, and we are all interconnected in this way. We all strive for comfort, and we can offer kindness to each other as well as ourselves.
If you find yourself worrying about the future or feeling upset, here is how you can anchor your awareness back to the present and feel peace:
Step 1) Stand up and feel the soles of your feet on the Earth beneath you. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on the contrast between the soles of your feet and the floor below you.
Step 2) Rock forward and backward a little. Next, move the weight your feet carry side to side. Notice the sensations in your feet as you do so. Make small circles with your knees, feeling the changes of sensation in the soles of your feet.
Step 3) When your mind has wandered (which is normal!), return your focus and attention to the soles of your feet.
Step 4) If you choose, you can begin to walk slowly. When walking, notice the change in sensations in your feet. Pay attention to how you lift your foot, step forward, and place your foot on the floor.
Step 5) As you walk, take a moment to reflect on how small the surface area of your feet is, and how hard your feet work daily to keep your body upright and uplifted. Try to reflect on these things with a sense of gratitude and appreciation.
Step 6) Return to standing when you’re ready. Take a few deep breaths and continue about your day.
Finally, remember the common humanity piece of self-compassion: We are all doing the best we can to work through changes in our daily life. Offer a smile or small act of kindness to a stranger in passing. And if you’re striving to be more self-compassionate, offer a smile to yourself, too.
If you're a Profile member and would like more on this topic, ask your coach at your next appointment. If you're not a Profile member, you can meet with a coach for free. Sign up here. We offer virtual coaching appointments so you can stay healthy from the safety of your home.
Germer, C. K., & Neff, K. D. (2013). Self‐compassion in clinical practice. Journal of clinical psychology, 69(8), 856-867.
Neff, K., & Germer, C. (2018). The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thriveÿ ÿ. Guilford Publications.