This year, unlike any other, has presented us with many challenges. Consequently, we are now seeing elevated levels of depression, anxiety and other debilitating mental health conditions. By exercising some self-compassion we can build resilience, thus equipping ourselves to move forward and be better supported when dealing with uncertainty.

Self-compassion centres around thinking about the perspective we would take if this were someone close to us going through the difficult time and then applying it to ourselves. There have been three key elements identified that help us further understand what self-compassion is.

In the first instance, we need to BE MINDFUL of our suffering and tune in to how our body is reacting. Recognise and accept that this situation we find ourselves in is hard. We cannot practice self-compassion until we acknowledge how we are feeling.

Secondly, it may feel like our inner critic is dominating our thoughts right now, exaggerating self-doubt and imposing judgement on how we are managing our lives. However, it is crucial for our mental health that we are KIND TO OURSELVES. We have to be cautious of perceiving self-care as indulgent or mistaking it for self-pity.

Finally, reminding ourselves of our COMMON HUMANITY will help us to feel less alone when we are facing difficulties. In our social media driven world, it is easy to think the lives of others are much more fulfilled and uncomplicated than our own. We can normalise our struggles by remembering that we are all prone to flaws and are not perfect.   

At this time of year when we often show kindness to others, opening up the gift of self-compassion will help restore balance, emotionally preparing us for 2021.