Constantly taking care of others can be draining. It is a big enough job to take care of yourself, let alone your family and patients. All this taking care of others can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
Cultivating positivity is part of the solution to stave off burnout. Sometimes, positivity seems out of reach. You may be feeling so negative that even when you get a glimpse of something good, it is fleeting so that you don’t connect with it. This is when bringing self-compassion to heal from burnout is especially beneficial.
Often, when people have been working and working and fulfilling responsibilities and are busy all the time, they become numb. They start feeling like a human Doing rather than a Human Being. When people realize how difficult and stressful a situation is, they begin to wake up. When they experience the many uncomfortable and pent up feelings they may become overwhelmed and burnt out. This is a time that calls for self-compassion to heal.
Kristin Neff, PhD at the University of Texas has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components:
- Common humanity –you are not alone
- Mindfulness – perspective
Over the next several weeks, I’ll discuss each of these.
Self-compassion may be new for you. In healthcare you are taught that the patient comes first and the providers, well … just take care of it.
Self-Kindness is about being gentle with yourself in the face of painful experiences and when falling short of your ideals. If a friend or loved one were telling you about a difficult situation and experiencing some strong emotion, how would you be with that person?
You would probably be compassionate and kind. Kindness and understanding go a long way in helping the person to heal from the difficult experience.
It is noteworthy that people who are most resilient are able to sustain uncomfortable emotions and allow themselves to feel what is present. With this awareness they can choose more consciously how to respond.
I suggest you take a deep breath and invoke self-compassion, use a gentle voice with yourself and explore; allow yourself to experience. Ask, “What is triggering you? What would be a better response?”
If you are ready to develop self-compassion to heal and regain your energy and passion for life and work, contact me.
Improving well-being for healthcare professionals through coaching.
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