I’m finally getting somewhere on this one. I flicked back through posts I’ve written the last few months, and this is the first time self compassion appeared. Here’s what I said at the time,‘Self compassion isn’t easy. It’s work. It’s acknowledging what’s going on, then accepting it, then doing something to alleviate it, then doing something to change the situation if that’s what’s needed.  It’s so much work. But it’s work I can’t afford to ignore any more.’

Do you want to hear something fun?! I’m coming to the end of my first week of properly practicing self compassion, ie, looking after myself, but also, and here’s the crucial part, acknowledging that I’m looking after myself. I’ve eaten well. I’ve stayed away from alcohol. I’ve gotten myself to bed on time. And, following my session with Therapist 2.0 on Thursday and the understanding (finally) that I’m the only who can make the changes I need, I’ve even been doing my breathing exercises as she recommended, rather than ignoring them. I haven’t exactly wanted to do any of these things, but I’m doing them anyway. Every time I find myself about to walk away from or not do something that will help, I remind myself activation precedes motivation.

 

It’s not all big things either. There are some really small things that are helping. This may sound strange, but when I’m not feeling inclined to look after myself, I don’t look after my skin. This week, no matter how tired I’ve been, I’ve washed my face each night, and, I’ve started using a body moisturiser as well. One of the (many) things I’ve learned from Therapist 2.0 is how important smell is, so now, I’m using one particular moisturiser at night, in the hope that soon I’ll come to associate that smell with winding down. I’ve also started switching my phone off and reading an actual book before bed, rather than looking at a screen. And candles. As soon as it gets dark enough, you know, mid afternoon ish (feckin Irish summer!!) I light candles in the sitting room to make the house feel cosier. They’re all really small things, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t think anything of them at all, but I’m consciously choosing to do them, for me, because I know they’ll make me feel good. Self soothing is a dbt skill, I’m reasonably confident a few of these would fall into that category.

Anyway, I’m quite proud of me for finally starting to get to grips with this. Of course, having said all that, there’s nothing I’d love more tonight than to crack a bottle of wine and sit in front of netflix till an unholy hour. But I won’t. I’ll do a toned down version – I’m absolutely still allowed to have treats – but I also want to be able to function, and more importantly, feel good tomorrow.  And I’m the only one who can make that happen!

This article has 10 Comments

  1. I so agree with you on this. I’ve been handing over responsibility to my doctors for too long. Thirty years in fact. It is nigh time I took responsibility for my mental health now. Mindfulness has helped me enormously. I can get well. And I will get well. It is not a death sentence. I do not have to trust my doctors to the enth degree. I know what is good for me. Good food, good rest, laughter, nature and cultural activities. Life is good. I’m going to grab it with both hands. No more self pity. It gets you nowhere. You get one pick of the cherry. Grab it.

    1. That sounds like a very healthy approach Margaret 🙂 Just remember to go easy on yourself too, sometimes despite our best intentions it can be really challenging to do what we know is right. What works for me now (most of the time) is to remember that a bad day is just that – a bad day. Not a bad week, not a bad month, not necessarily the start of something sinister. Makes it a whole lot easier to pick myself up and start again. Take care of you!

  2. I recently started doing some of the same things, like for example I turn my phone off 1 hour before sleep and read a book. Also started washing my face before bed and in the mornings. I don’t know if its a placebo but it makes me sleep & feel better. Keep it up! And thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Jesse, placebo or otherwise, if it works…….! I’ve had a crazy few weeks and am finding it really challenging to keep up the little things, like the phone off/face washing etc, and it’s definitely having an impact. As I write this I’m anxious as all hell and mind is racing, so definitely time to slow down. Glad to hear things are going well for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *