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Self-compassion is vital: here’s how to practice it

Our current reality can be overwhelming and trigger a variety of emotions including fear, anxiety and grief as we all shift our lives in dramatic ways. Our regular meal patterns, exercise schedules, social outings and in-person work connections are largely no longer possible, and that shift alone can destabilize our mental and physical health.

During times of transition, disruption and unease, cultivating more self-compassion is key. In fact, it can radically transform your relationship with difficulty and help you feel more capable of dealing with challenges.

Here is your no-pressure invitation to try four new skills and behaviours during this time of many unknowns:

 

1. Accept that this is our situation — for right now.

You may not be fully at peace with the current situation, but acceptance is a powerful tool that can cultivate strength and resilience during hard circumstances and times of change.

 

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2. Establish a new routine.

Whether you’re working from home or simply spending more time there, experiment with creating new rituals. Some examples include having a shower, brushing your teeth and getting dressed for the day upon waking, enjoying a slow and relaxed sit-down breakfast, going for a walk midday or after the work day, or getting some joyful movement in with an online class. Try to tune into what feels best for you and choose some new habits or rituals to build into your days.


3. Let go of perfection and be kind.

It is perfectly acceptable to cut yourself slack right now. This can be a very powerful “unlearning" opportunity to shift away from our perfectionist tendencies. You may feel, for instance, that you are struggling to stick to “normal” eating patterns, and that’s OK. Instead of feeling guilty about how you are choosing to fuel your body, try exploring how you can build in a bit of daily structure when it comes to meals and snacks. It can also help to try to think about food as nourishment, with the goal of being gentle and kind to yourself.

 

Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Communicate with healthcare professionals from the comfort of your home.

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4. Practice gratitude.

Most of us are fortunate to have a roof over our head, internet service to connect with the outside world and food in our fridges — our basic needs are being met. The purpose of practicing gratitude is to find the mundane little things that can help promote a better outlook on life and change potentially negative thought patterns. This can mentally and physically help us feel more at ease and relaxed. A great practice to try is to write down a few things you are grateful for when you wake up and/or before you go to bed.

 

During this unprecedented time we must remember to continually adjust our habits in order to best support our bodies and minds. Try to have deep compassion for your own process — you are your own expert and can choose what you want and need to do to support your wellbeing each day.