I was talking to Amy Newton a couple of weeks ago about my ideas for where to take SCB next, and I mentioned coping vs. dealing.
Coping to me means getting on with it, short term pushing through, knowing that you can and will get through this.
Dealing is about taking stock and making new routines to support you longer term.
We’ve spent months in lockdown. A lot of us are still locked down, cut off from family, friends, and normal activities that punctuate your life. We’ve put off mourning, celebrating, and all sorts of plans until ‘after’ or ‘all this is over’.
The Next Phase: Empathy
If this is the new normal, how do we deal with this? How do we build a foundation to make sure this is as sustainable as it can be?
I’ve noticed that my coping mechanisms for lockdown aren’t really cutting it any more. Since starting SCB, I’ve had to adapt to running a business out of my flat as well as the other lockdown adaptations, so I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on my mechanisms for dealing with lockdown.
The next phase of my work is going to be focused on empathy. Empathy for yourself is difficult to cultivate and practice. We are often mean to ourselves in ways we’d never be to others. A lack of empathy for yourself can often lead to unhelpful coping mechanisms because you don’t engage with your feelings, you push them away or berate yourself for feeling down.
Instead, I try to regularly check in on how my body and mind are doing. One often affects the other, and these links are important to figure out. The idea isn’t to do anything with those feelings, but to learn what emotions I’m experiencing, and what affect they’re having on physically.
This helps with self-insight and awareness, and from there you can start to figure out the reasons for the emotions.
Once you have more insight into what affects your emotions, you can start to build mechanisms to help sustainably deal with uncertainty.
It’s also important to sit and feel joy and happiness and contentment with just as much depth and empathy as your less enjoyable feelings. Self Care and mental health isn’t just about dealing with the bad times, it’s also about fully experiencing the good times.
What next for SelfCare Backpack?
My next set of resources will be covering empathy specifically, and how to practice and cultivate it. I’m really excited about it, and the idea is that it will extend and build upon the original SCB resource pack.
I’m also looking at how to help businesses who are looking to invest in their employees’ emotional and mental health. If this sounds like it would be useful, I’d love to speak to you! I can tailor workshops, talks, and resources, for your audience and needs and I’d love to work with you.