Today is World Mental Health Day – 10th October, a reminder to check in with yourself to ensure that you are taking simple steps to manage your mental health and know what support is available should you need it.
Be kind to your mind
Looking after your mental health starts with acknowledging how you speak to yourself and practising self-compassion. Back in 2020 Dr Marti Balaam, Senior Teaching Fellow in Nursing Studies and Lead for Professionalism and Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and Director/Founder of The Compassion Salon, shared her advice with us on how to practice self-compassion, whilst we’re no longer in the midst of the pandemic, the advice is as relevant now as it was then. Be kind to your mind and take a moment today to reflect on the steps below.
Six Steps to start practising Self-Compassion
Step 1: Practice Forgiveness
Accept that you are not perfect and be gentle with yourself when you are confronted with your shortcomings. Remind yourself, especially on a bad day, to be gentle and kind with yourself. Indeed, talk to yourself as you would to a close friend.
Step 2: Shared Humanity
It’s important to acknowledge that whilst we may be in different boats, we are navigating life together and we all have a shared need for love and acceptance. When we suffer therefore it is helpful to remember we are not alone. Everyone has feelings of loneliness and isolation, but accepting that many of us feel like this can alleviate these feelings.
Step 3: Employ a Growth Mindset
Changing the way you view challenges can help you adopt a growth mindset. Viewing challenges or obstacles as opportunities helps you see them as a path to learning and growing and is more constructive to getting through them with a positive outcome.
Step 4: Express Gratitude
Switching from wishing for what we do not have to feeling gratitude for what we do have can be very powerful in our overall feeling of positivity and wellbeing. Writing a gratitude journal or going on a gratitude walk are ways of reinforcing and accepting all that is good in what we have.
Step 5: Find the Right Level of Generosity
For generosity to work in favour of your well-being, it cannot be selfless. Think about when you are being generous, make sure you are aware of your own needs before progressing. Consciously select the recipient of your generosity, the resources you have available, and your level of energy based on what will support your own well-being.
Step 6: Be Mindful
Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it tends to lessen self-judgment. Try and always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labelling. Allow what you think or feel to have its moment and then dismiss it – let it go!
What are you going to do today to practice self-compassion?
Mental Health Support
For more information on what help is available to support you and others with mental help, visit the NHS-dedicated mental health page.
Read the original article Time for NHS Staff to focus on self-compassion written by Dr Marti Balaam, Senior Teaching Fellow in Nursing Studies and Lead for Professionalism and Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and Director/Founder of The Compassion Salon, to find out how nurses can practice self-compassion.