When we feel down, we think in absolutes and we forget to be kind to ourselves.
A good friend messaged me this today - when we were exchanging thoughts on how we are feeling. Full disclosure- I am finding this hard. And that's ok. But it's so easy to forget that we are in an unprecedented time and that all bets are off on how we 'should' feel and what we 'should' be doing. So our inherent personality traits kick in. I'm classic type A - I do too much, I want to do it all, I have lists for all of it and I kill myself trying to get it all done. It doesn't matter that I have a small baby who demands 90% of my day, I am fasting for the month of Ramadhan and I am only just easing myself back into work life after maternity time off. I 'should' be working - I 'should' be using this time to be more creative, I 'should' be resting more, I 'should' be able to do x, y, z. There are no shoulds right now. We feel how we feel. And we are as we are. That's ok. In fact it's very right that we show ourselves the utmost kindness and compassion for navigating this almighty storm in our little sailboat. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is Kindness. I'm sure you've seen enough posts telling you to be kind to yourselves - to send kindness out, to do a random act of kindness for someone. All of these are great ways to bring kindness into your day. I'm here to tell you to make it even more simple. And this principle of mindfulness explains it well.
Hold yourself and others in positive regard
Although our values, worldview, or ideas may differ from each other, we can always view others in a positive light. This means giving empathy and support to people regardless of what they say or do. We can understand that every person is doing the best they can to meet their needs.
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
Now more than ever, we are living in a stressful environment. People are making decisions for their own and their families safety, we are all getting by the best we can.
This is a time to hold judgement, hold criticism and hold selfishness. Especially towards ourselves.
How can you be kinder to yourself?
- Drop the absolutes - the shoulds, cant's, always, never. - Do whatever you need in the moment to feel ok. Put on a great song. Drink some tea. Sleep. Cry. Laugh. Be still. Move. And then take the next moment and the next. - See yourself in the most positive light. You're doing a BRILLIANT job of getting up and getting through the day.
- Reframe the situation. It's all too easy to see the negatives in all this- but ca this time at home be the chance you've needed to slow down? I'm seeing my current situation as my opportunity to re-do my 4th trimester when I was too tired to enjoy the baby - now I can really appreciate and soak him in! - It's all good - if you've used this time to rest, create, think, or just survive - that's what worked for you so it's great. - Take your time - the best advice I give myself daily is that tomorrow is a new day and I have all the time in the world to do whatever I need.
I hope you can show yourselves (and so others) empathy, love, kindness and all the good vibes this week and every week. It spreads and we can create a positive pandemic together.