Now Is the Perfect Time to Up Your Self-Care

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Part of being human is the simple truth that we must sometimes navigate the world’s chaos, and the resulting emotional chaos that can come up inside of us as a result. There is much in life that we can’t control, but what we do have control over is how we choose to respond to what life throws our way. That’s where Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) comes in.

MSC is a mindfulness practice created by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff. It combines the beauty and simplicity of traditional mindfulness practice with a focus on treating yourself with love, kindness, and care, just as you would your dearest friend or loved one. When you’re having a hard time, you can choose to care for yourself in that moment rather than pushing through with self-criticism or ignoring your pain.

Get started with these tips for being nicer to yourself during your most difficult moments.

6 Self-Care Tips You Can Try Today

  • Be kind and understanding: Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, offer self-compassion. In other words, be kind and understanding to yourself when confronted with personal failings. After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? 
  • Allow inspired change vs. shame-driven change: In a framework of self-compassion, choosing to change aspects of yourself or your life to live healthier and happier is because you care about yourself, not because you believe you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. 
  • Honor and accept your humanness: Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations; losses will occur; you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, and fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition — a reality shared by all of us. 
  • Open your heart: The more you open your heart to reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the first step in emotional healing. It enables us to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, or confusion) with a spirit of openness and curiosity.
  • Practice mindful self-compassion: Mindful Self-Compassion involves responding to difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy, and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional well-being. It boosts happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and can even help maintain healthy lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. Being both mindful and compassionate leads to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives.

If we can look at what is happening in our lives with an attitude of open-heartedness and curiosity, with a loving quality towards ourselves, and a willingness to meet our experience as it is, that is mindfulness at work. And when the feelings we’re sitting with don’t feel nice, we can add self-compassion.

Self-compassion practice warms up mindfulness and teaches us how to actively soothe ourselves when we feel bad. It’s about offering ourselves comfort and goodwill. When we do this, we give ourselves an opportunity to navigate whatever comes our way with more ease. And right about now, that sounds pretty good! I invite you to give it a try.