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Treating Yourself Like Someone You Love

Treating Yourself Like Someone You Love

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brené Brown

Being in a prolonged state of lockdown with safety protocols can lead to exhaustion and stress. How we respond to this state of compounded anxiety is key to looking after our own well being. According to an article by the American Psychological Association, “…exhaustion from worrying about the coronavirus pandemic since the start of the year is leading to COVID fatigue.”

The environment may not seem conducive with carers having to assist children in remote learning, while managing house work and/or their own careers, or caring for elderly family members. This along with uncertainty, can lead to a prolonged period of worry or unrest followed by emotional turmoil and reduced rational thinking. Not addressing the stress itself can affect the way we think and act. For example, as places are slowly reopening, there is evidence to say that there is an increase in risky behaviours such as avoiding necessary safety protocols. Here are some ways we can look after ourselves and thereby people around us to avoid burnout:

Living mindfully: The antidote to worry is often acknowledging the difficult feelings and understanding the influence they have over our actions. Taking some time off during the day to sit with our feelings non judgmentally, and validating them either by journaling or consciously acknowledging them can be relieving. It can be overwhelming to put pressure on ourselves to feel better, judge ourselves for feeling tired, and blame others or ourselves. This shifts the focus from us accepting and being compassionate towards important emotions.

Re-evaluating our sense of control: In a stressful situation, it is natural to want a sense of control. It is our way of avoiding further distress. While this can be helpful, we may overlook certain boundaries of what we actually control. For example, we may not necessarily have control over worrisome thoughts or unpleasant feelings, but the way we respond to this is definitely in our control. It is okay to pause, take a break and take time to understand what is in our control before reacting to a situation.

Engaging in things that make us happy: Regularly engaging in pleasurable activities improves moods significantly. When we feel lost, it is useful to reconnect with ourselves by choosing things that make us happy. Self care at a time like this, cannot be stressed upon enough. Making a conscious effort to look after ourselves goes a long way in building resilience at such times and can foster the same in our children.

Reaching out for support: It is okay to reach out beyond friends and family for support. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather courageous to acknowledge our struggles and deal with them with the help of professionals who are there to guide you effectively. It is easier to be compassionate and help those around us when we are able to show the same understanding and acceptance towards ourselves first.