How To Stop Being Hard On Yourself During Hard Times

Tips on how to survive the pandemic and finally stop being hard on yourself

From everything going on with the worldly pandemic, it’s hard to stay productive and positive. At least for me, it is.

My head and heart hurt, but I still have to find the strength to carry on; we all do. It’s like the world is tugging at our heartstrings and society is still pushing at our productivity — how do we manage?!

It’s hard to not be hard on yourself when we are pushed to be productive, take care of kids, stay motivated and keep it together (especially right now!).

So here’s how to stop being hard on yourself during hard times — something I used to do until I learnt these techniques.


Why are we so hard on ourselves?

First and foremost, this question is compulsory to answer when putting things into perspective for our minds to see it’s OK to be hard on ourselves; it’s normal.

According to The New York Times, self-criticism is due to the way our brains are wired. Our brain monitors our behaviour, so it’s hard to stop that process! This shows we can notice mistakes when they happen — the reaction is then what causes us to ride the train of negative self-talk. Charlotte Lieberman says:

“This is where we get into the harmful, counterproductive side of self-criticism.”

So we do have a decision to change the way we are hard on ourselves by stopping negative self-talk and exercising self-compassion, which brings us to the first technique on how to stop being hard on yourself during hard times:

Treat yourself like a friend

“Be kind to yourself. Above all else, remember that it’s OK to make mistakes along the way. Be kind to yourself — the process of making improvements to our daily routines is a marathon, not a sprint. Self-love can go a long way toward a healthier lifestyle.” — Philip Ross

This is my affirmation for 2020. After reflecting during the end of last year and speaking with my friends and family, they kept saying, “You are too hard on yourself.”

You see, I only came to realise it when my best friend listed all my new adventures and accomplishments in the past six months out loud to me: I moved to a new city, started teaching English and yoga AND started a business online for freelance writing. Damn, I was working hard and still being hard on myself! I couldn’t believe how the awareness sank in when she said it to me — I needed to give myself credit.

Same for now. We are all going through hard times and it’s OK to feel like you are stuck or sad. Everything is currently harder to do because of these hard times we are experiencing. (Can I say hard any more times?!) Value yourself. Try to accept how you feel and treat yourself like a friend by finding the good in what you do, praising yourself, noticing the little things.

Right now is the perfect time to align yourself and find self-care routines that suit you best at home because according to Psychology Today:

“Your self-care is continually bumped off your to-do list in favor of your other priorities.”

Start a new day by writing a to-do list including self-care breaks during working hours and:

See the lesson in all of this

Not sure about you, but I do see Coronavirus as a calling from mother nature to stop harming our home. During this short time of hibernation, nature is already praising us for staying inside! In Italy, the waters have gone crystal clear and fish can be seen — hallelujah. 

What is the lesson in this hard time? That we humans need to look within and take account for the trauma we are causing, not only on ourselves by overworking but the world by overpowering. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hard on myself I think, “This is impossible” or “What’s the point?”. Stop and look around. Notice you must accept what you can’t control as I said last week:

How to Accept What You Can’t Control

Now is the perfect time to learn to accept what you can’t control and feel free

And then you will notice how the lesson in all of this is restoring hope in humanity! Yay! One day after this pandemic blows over, I am sure we will do as Joseph Campbell said:

“Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true.”

Let go and look within

Lastly, let go of being so hard on yourself and find hope in everything that is happening. During hard times, there have to be signs of hope — it’s up to you to find them.

If you aren’t working to your full potential now, it’s OK. If you don’t feel productive “enough”, it’s OK. Stop being hard on yourself and think of the positive. Praise yourself for the little things and take it slowly. According to Bustle, the number one mistake in being hard on yourself is dwelling on it forever. So stop yourself before you do it and breathe.

“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are enough people out there who’ll do it for you. Don’t let the assholes win.” — Adam Gnade

In conclusion

You can do it! Being cooped up, it’s hard not to be hard on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness as a friend does, then see the bigger picture in all this and let go to look within.

I am finding it so hard at the moment to function. Some days all I want to do is teach yoga online but I still need to do focus on freelance writing! However, I am healing with gratitude and finding the light in it all.

We are all in pain for our world right now. Our hearts and heads hurt, but there’s hope.


Here are 11 signs you are being hard on yourself and 12 ways to stop being hard on yourself.

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