Practice Self Compassion During Challenging Times

Like most everyone, I am experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions during this time of unprecedented change. Regular routines have been upended, and it's difficult to stay focused. I don't feel as productive as I think I ‘should’ be. Balancing work, life, family, safety, emotional and physical health...there’s a lot going on, and it’s challenging.  There are countless articles and resources out there, providing great advice and inspiration. I've come across a couple that have been particularly meaningful, and wanted to share, as they may be helpful to you or others.

Last week, I found these words in an email I read with my morning coffee: "be kinder in your self-expectations."  They were part of a daily email I subscribe to from Nataly Kogan, who helps others develop the skill of being happy. Nataly's video pep talk included in that email had some inspiring reminders: we need to recognize that although this is our new normal, these are not normal times; acknowledge that we are all struggling with a lot right now; and understand that we can’t expect perfectionism.  And most importantly, we need to give ourselves a break, and practice self-compassion…sound advice in these turbulent times. (If you want to learn more about living happier, visit Nataly's website,

Shortly after, a colleague shared this article from the Washington Post. What resonated for me is that this truly is a day-to-day experience. There are going to be days when you’re highly productive, and others when you’re less focused and a bit overwhelmed…and that is OK. Like Nataly, the writer also recommended having compassion for ourselves, and extending the same for others.

What I take from both of these resources is this: we need to recognize and acknowledge the human side of change and the emotional journey we are on; we don't necessarily need to stop what we're doing, but we do need to give ourselves (and others) a break.

What messages and resources are inspiring you through these changing and challenging times?  We'd love to hear from you.

Authored by: Kathy Doonan, ACMP NE Board Member

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  1. Bill Murphy

    Apr. 18, 2020

    Thanks for the article, Kathy! Great reminder to cut ourselves and those around us a little slack as we move through the pandemic. I try to remind myself of all the challenges my parents lived through (e.g. Spanish Flu pandemic, the Depression, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the turmoil of the ‘60 and 9/11), and they managed to raise five children well, stay in a loving relationship, and try to help those around them well into their 80’s. If they could do that, I guess I can do this!


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