Consoling myself — learning how to practise self-compassion. (part 2)
Following on from my last post on mustering the courage to take a much needed pause after reaching a point of burnout, this next post looks at how I’ve practically been cultivating my self-compassion.
Seeking professional support
I have spoken before in a previous post about why counselling is ok and how we need to say so. After previously experiencing the benefits of counselling, I knew I needed to get some support on this journey, and having someone independent to chat to and work through my thinking has been super helpful and reassuring.
Finding resources that resonate
I’ve read Brené’s work before, but discovered that she had published two other books that I thought would be really helpful: ‘Atlas of the Heart’ and ‘Daring Greatly’. I am still working my way through them but her powerful messages and reminders of how we need to lean into the discomfort of the human experience has been really comforting. Which is especially relevant in our society today, given that many of us don’t feel as comfortable talking about these difficult emotional experiences.
Another resource I found helpful was Tara Brach. I had heard of Tara’s work before and so I have been listening to her wonderful podcasts and meditations.
Lastly, Sarah Blondin. I came across Sarah’s work through Insight Timer, and found that her ability to put into words and feeling the human experience is simply breathtaking. So reminding myself of her work and how to be kind and connect with how we feel has been a timely reminder to connect with myself.
Developing techniques to raise awareness
Tara Brach’s RAIN technique has helped me a number of times this last month when sitting with feelings of discomfort. If you haven’t come across this technique I’d highly recommend it as it has helped me to objectively identify the different aspects connected to issues that arise. Full details on the RAIN technique can be found on Tara’s website.
- Recognise what is happening;
- Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
- Investigate with interest and care;
- Nurture with self-compassion.
Building self-compassion into my daily routines
A few weeks ago I had the chance to hear Sarah Ellis from the Squiggly Careers podcast give a talk at Co-op. She shared the technique of actionnits: post-it Notes of actions you can take for moving on in your career. The concept was so simple as it resonated with how I used to work physically with a whiteboard and Post-it Notes with the agile teams I work with, so I decided to adapt this technique and apply it to my self compassion journey.
I’ve now got a load of compassion-its. I have a wall of Post-it Notes on the side of my desk, which helps me to keep checking in on where and when I can build these activities into my daily life.
Logging my activities. I had ordered a Blurt It Out Foundation self compassion buddy box which contains a self-care jar template. Using this template, I’ve adapted it and created my own self compassion jar so when I have actioned a self-care activity I move it into the compassion jar. A practical and visual way to see that I am investing time into looking after myself and meeting my own needs, it’s been extremely helpful and something I highly recommend.
Switching up my work routine
I had previously flexed my hours during the pandemic to be able to fit in a non-work day to manage my MBA studies. It’s a subtle change, but I have moved back to a standard 9–5.30 working pattern. Starting my work day 30 mins later is giving me some extra time in the morning to take the time to journal, meditate and feel like I am taking time to meet my own needs first. To lead and enable teams, it means looking after yourself first and foremost, and I can feel the shift in my mindset and attitude as a result of this small shift.
This is all still a work in progress. I hope some of these tips resonate and are helpful. I’d love to know what other techniques people are using to practise self-compassion.