Now that we are done from the holidays and into the new year, we all know that people often feel drained.
Add the pandemic into the mix and these feelings may even be worse.
Instead of telling you to set unrealistic goals or even preach about why exercise is more important than ever, I thought talking about self-compassion may be a better fit for a time like now.
Why self-compassion, you ask?
Self-compassion is something many people forget to give.
I say ‘give’ strategically because during the holidays and in our everyday lives, we are constantly giving to people.
How much of that energy do you give to yourself?
Often, we forget about this step.
It is so important for not only your fitness routines but your everyday well-being.
Personally, I find this one hard.
Living with a disability brings many beautiful and challenging aspects into my life but it uses a lot of my energy.
Add in the fact I am also giving energy to others daily and you can see why I struggle with giving anything back to myself.
There is hardly anything left.
Self-compassion has helped me cope with a newly acquired disability and continues to help me through university, in the gym, and even through this pandemic.
So what is self compassion and how can we use it?
Well, self-compassion is basically having compassion for oneself.
It gives us room to be patient and understanding. It allows for resiliency when we need it most, helps prevent burnout, and most importantly, studies show it decreases anxiety, depression, self-criticism, and rumination.
Try incorporating the following practices for one week and reflect on how it feels (see below).
There are a total of 5 exercises, so plan accordingly and schedule them in and watch the difference a little self-compassion can make!
Day 1: Over the past year, write your most significant setback or failure you have had in the gym or in your everyday life that was personally demanding. Write or discuss the following:
-What happened leading up to the event
-Who was there
-What specific thoughts and actions happened during the event
Day 2: List ways in which other people experience similar events to the one you discussed in day 1. Do you truly believe you are the only one who has experienced this? Really reflect on this one.
Day 3: Write a paragraph expressing understanding, kindness and concern to yourself. Write as if you are communicating to a close friend in the same situation. Often people are much harder on themselves than they would be to others in the same situation. Taking a step outside the situation often makes it easier to give advice and see it more clearly.
Day 4: Describe the event in an objective and unemotional manner-promoting acknowledgement and balance without over identification.
Day 5: Think about a negative event in the gym or everyday life that occurred over the past week that was personally demanding. If you can’t think of one, think about a time you may come across in the future and describe how you can use self compassion to support you in the process.
I encourage people to journal as much as possible during their fitness journeys, so including some self-compassion into this can be extremely beneficial when you need some support to continue going.
And then we reflect. How do you feel?
Be sure to let us know how this has helped you and if you want more tips on how to incorporate this into your life and even your fitness journey, let us know!
Remember, the more we can give ourselves, the more we can give to the people and things around us that we care about.
There are two resources below to assist in reflecting further: