something that my therapist taught me that really helped me have more self compassion was the concept of an inner child (please note this is not the same as having different personality states)
when I'm having a hard time with my mental health I often have a lot of negative self talk and struggle to look after myself but when I imagine telling a young version of myself the things I tell myself now, I can't.
beating myself up about a mistake? it's alright, we make mistakes and we can learn from this.
struggling to get out of bed? just try for 10 minutes, watch YouTube or listen to music and if you can't stay up we can go back to bed for a bit and try again later
need to do eat something but can't find motivation? I wouldn't let them go hungry so I'll grab a snack while I make something
need to do chores but feel like I can't? let myself dance to taylor swift and do as much as I can, maybe offer a reward afterwards.
I've found it's so much harder to be hard on myself when I imagine I'm saying those things to younger me. in an ideal world I would be kind to current myself but if I can't? I'll be kind to the six year old version of me who deserves to be looked after and cherished and told they're important. when I can't bring myself to do something for me I'll do it for them.
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my #1 piece of advice for anyone who is not used being stuck in their homes is to remember, every day, to do things that ground you.
playing on the computer, watching movies and tvs, even reading books - these are all great ways to make time pass quickly BUT they are not grounding activities, they are activities that instead make you more prone to getting lost in your head a bit - you look up and it’s 2 in the morning and you don’t know where the day went.
so alternate any activity that involves escapism (text messaging, movies, video games, ect.) with a grounding activity. otherwise, if you’re like me, you’ll start to feel all weird and floaty and nothing matters and what is time and when was the last time i ate.
obviously, work with what resources you have and keep in mind any issues, physical or otherwise, that might make these suggestions not right for you.
also, i like to do all of these with my preschooler and toddler, because they benefit from the shared activity and from the grounding themselves as well. i’m not a board-game mom or a mom that likes to coordinate cute art projects or activities - i just don’t have the focus for that (adhd). instead i prefer to just share activities with my kids as described below.
suggested grounding activities:
* cooking a meal. not microwaving something, preparing a meal that involves chopping vegetables, requires you to stand over a steaming pan stirring constantly. bake a boxed cake for no reason other than you need a grounding activity. chop an onion. make ants-on-a-log. look at the weird leftover stuff in the pantry and make something equally weird with it. (my husband likes to do this.)
* walking (my favorite). if you can, go outside to walk, if not, even walking around the rooms in your house will help. take your kids on a walk. raining? go for a (brief) walk anyway. my kids LOVE a rainy day walk because they get to splash in muddy puddles.
* loud, cheerful music that you sing along to. this is not the time for wistful, angsty breakup music. you want abba. you want cyndi lauper. you want “you can call me al.” PLEASE dance along. PLEASE sing as loud as you can. kids will love having a dance party.
* making art. glue popsickle sticks, paint with watercolors, anything messy or tactile is A+++. everyone has 500 rolls of toilet paper, use those empty rolls for art projects. playdoh. molding clay. my kids’ favorite activity is stringing beads on pipe cleaners.
* heavy work. if you have the resources and a backyard, a good thing to do is to go outside and start moving heavy things. clear out a spot for a garden. move bricks. clean up trash. if you don’t have outside space, move your furniture around the room. push and pull and lift, if you can. alphabetize your book collection, moving your hardbacks from shelf to shelf.
* picking a small area or room and cleaning it. what i mean is: washing a window, wiping a baseboard, scrubbing a tub. doesn’t have to be the whole room. just one thing. what i am NOT suggesting: organizing closets and shelves. organizing requires making decisions. you are probably not in the right headspace for descision-making right now. please chose MINDLESS physical grounding activities. as an added bonus, cleaning makes you feel productive AND soothes your anxiety over germs. for example, my kids LOVE to mop. they beg for that priviledge. let them mop! make a big wet mess on the floor and then dry it up with towels.
* play with toys. i am literally suggesting pulling out a box of blocks and sitting on the floor with your kids, if you have them, or with your pets, if you don’t. blocks are great for grounding me (and my kids). build towers, roads, cities, ect. it’s tactile, mindless and meditative, and it’s probably something you don’t usually do every day, so it’s novel. other suggestions: barbies. matchbox cars. nothing that requires batteries or makes noise. no lego sets - an open-ended activity. don’t try to follow directions. just get a bunch of foam blocks and make a tower.
* paint your nails. paint your kids’ nails. both my son and daughter love having their nails painted. it’s tactile, it’s good physical contact, it tickles a little, it’s mindless.
* play with a pet. order a laser pointer for your kitty or get a squeaky ball for the dog. get on the floor.
these are some suggestions off the top of my head, please feel free to add more
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