Self-Care Fatigue Amid Daily Covid Stress
Being kind to yourself. Giving others the benefit of the doubt. How did it get so difficult for me to practice this advice? Like many Americans, I experience highs and lows in my self-care. I feel competitive and driven when I’m under stress. People like me set high standards for themselves and judge others who seem to fall short. Not a good look for a self-care coach! Are you feeling self-care fatigue due to daily stress?
I recently began seeing a new chiropractor and she took my blood pressure. She asked me if I’m normally at 158/97. In the past ten years, my average blood pressure has been a healthy 115/75. I told her it must be all the stress, snow, deadlines, and isolation I was feeling. As I left, I thanked her for this helpful wake-up call! It was time for me to become more deliberate about my own self-kindness/self-care skills.
In a year of pandemic stress, being kind to yourself and to others takes on a higher purpose
When we are feeling high stress, and that stress lasts for months, comfortable is not a word we use much. It’s often difficult to comfort ourselves, and in our pandemic isolation, harder to offer help to others. High-stress times of life highlight our need for comfort-building habits. Learning self-compassion or giving ourselves permission to be imperfect can help with stress. During a pandemic that impacts our immune response, calming our stress with self-care has long-term benefits.
Research points to stress reduction as a significant help in treating chronic illnesses
The normal stress of life for a healthy adult has a gradual impact on their health. Over time, stress damages our bodies in unseen but significant ways. Because the damage is slow and not obvious, it’s easy to overlook. I’m quite familiar with this sneaky, unseen stress impact. Many of my clients hire me to help them avoid the lifestyle choices that create Type 2 Diabetes. I take this work seriously. The Diabetes Prevention Program encourages health coaches like me to help people reduce stress as a medical requirement.
When you choose to be kind to yourself, it’s easier to stay out of the fight-or-flight response. Cortisol, a stress hormone, drops with self-caring. Blood pressure decreases. We end up in an overall healthier, calmer state.M. Brodrick
Being kind to yourself during a pandemic
The medical community is learning that people with COVID-19 are more likely to be severely ill or die when they also have comorbidities. Comorbidity means having a chronic illness like diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension, or cancer. Research from May of 2020 on the Harvard Health Blog points to this comorbid information. The study clearly shows that older patients with long-term chronic disease at the time of infection had a more severe case of Covid.
- Nearly 90% of patients admitted to US hospitals with Covid-19 had a comorbid illness
- Hypertension was the most common (49.7%)
- Obesity is also identified as a chronic health concern (48.3%)
- Chronic lung disease (34.6%)
- Diabetes (28.3%)
- Heart disease (27.8%)
This list is motivational to me. Everyone whom I love and all of my coaching clients want to honor their body and avoid illness. Beyond creating tools to help as I can, I am excited to watch them embrace calm to create homemade health today!
How can calm and self-compassion help us avoid long-term chronic illnesses?
Self-compassion is not everyone’s first response. We are all taught to focus on what bothers us and told we need to fight hard to succeed. All that adrenaline and cortisol is part of the fight-or-flight stress response I mentioned earlier. Over a lifetime, this adds to many chronic illnesses. Our future health will be stronger when we can retrain ourselves to have calm and self-compassion as a first response.
Focusing on what we can control instead of what bothers us is what I call having a Focus On The Good. It gives us the chance to cut ourselves some slack. In the uncertain days of 2020, it was easy to set aside our self-care focus and hike up our worry and frustration. Now that 2021 has arrived and many of us are feeling more hopeful, we can take a breath. Like my new chiropractor pointed out during my blood pressure reading, now is a good time to use health-promoting self-compassion!
Helping Ourselves and Others with a Mindset Makeover
In my Solution Starter Prediabetes Workbook, I teach a Mindset Makeover to my clients. Sometimes we may find ourselves in a rut with a self-defeating attitude. It’s a tough habit to break, but it’s possible. We can learn to substitute more helpful thoughts for the negative ones we’re used to thinking. Over time, calm compassion can become our first response.
Mindset Makeover Help For You
The highs and lows of being kind to yourself are part of the human experience. When you next have a bad day and a mindset makeover would help, I encourage you to give yourself some comfort. Negative or limiting thoughts truly can cause a lifetime of decision-making misses. For the next 24-hours, what kind of empowered focus on the good can you experience?
I’m motivated by this: How can I encourage others to rest more and ask for the help they need?
#empowered #holistichealthcoach #selfcompassion #thoughtfulness #focusonthegood