- Louise Coughlin
Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others
I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front; the last month has been mega busy with personal and work commitments, a period of sickness that floored me plus an additional work event that was not planned and meant I had to give up some weekends. This is rare for me I’m normally an advocate for work life balance....having worked 4 days for the last 14 years, but sometimes things happen. Most things have eased off and today for the first time in weeks I had a decent night sleep. I managed to do a 10k run (my legs are not happy!) and I feel I am back (ish) to my normal self. The personal stuff is still ongoing but seems easier when the balance of other things isn’t tipping me. I have been stressed, I know I have, my usual strategies have slipped but not disappeared. Exercise is usually my big stress combating activity but recovering from illness and being time poor this month has meant I haven’t done as much as normal and I’ve felt it. I’ve managed lunchtime walks when I’ve been at the clinic or a quick spin on the static bike enjoying line of duty, or not enjoying the news. My diet has been quick grabs which has inevitably meant less healthy...and then if I’ve had a sandwich surely I need crisps and a cake to go with it!
So what has kept me going? Sometimes stress happens it’s a fact of life. Knowing most of the stress was only going to last 6 weeks helped but also I have some amazing family members and friends. Enjoying playing games with my family or sending random WhatsApp messages to my friends has really helped. I had to drop anchor a few times when I felt my emotions rising...and my safe place has been a great help. Sometimes though when life is put into perspective by the suffering of others stress becomes something that is more manageable. My personal worries are hard but my family is not fleeing a war zone, or being separated from each other. I watch the news helplessly and I am overwhelmed with sadness for the many many people impacted by this war. The people of Ukraine are not the only people suffering, world wide people are dealing with massive life changing events that I can only try to comprehend. That does not mean I don’t need to look after myself but I can look after myself with perspective.
Many of my clients question whether they are a fraud because they think their issues do not compare to the traumas experienced by others. We all have our own traumas and issues to deal with and because other people are struggling doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for ourselves. Not caring for ourselves will not stop the struggle of others. We can care for ourselves as well as caring for other people. Being kind to ourselves means we can be kind to others and the world needs that kindness.