Do to Yourself as you Would to Others
There are myths in healthcare that self compassion shows weakness.
Tune in today to hear this myth and more get busted! Self-compassion is a term coined by Dr Kristin Neff and has 3 parts to it: mindfulness, self-kindness and common humanity.
Dr Jo shares some personal stories related to self-compassion, and how she has moved away from the self-critical voice that was the usual tone to get things done.
Hosts & Guests
Dr Jo Braid
Hi, my name is Dr. Jo Braid and I am the burnout recovery doctor. I help health care professionals overcome burnout and get their energy back. So whether you’re a med student, allied health professional or a doctor who is suffering from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, you’re in the right place. In this podcast, you will get your energy back through strategies for burnout recovery. This show will give you the practical tips and mindset strategies to help you recover from burnout in healthcare.
Welcome to episode three of the burnout recovery Podcast. Today, I’m delighted to share with you the concept of self compassion and choosing kindness over judgement. I will address the self critical voice that may show up uninvited and affect you every day.
Here’s an example to start with that you might relate to the different hats we wear and how we balance the time and the energy that we allocate to each of our multiple different hats. So I’ll share a personal example with you here. I’ve got three gorgeous sons all in primary school with a variety of extracurricular activities. And of course, they have different personalities. I want to be as present as I can for each one of them and attend to them in the moment. A different hat I wear is that I am a wife to my wonderful husband who is also a medical doctor with a busy schedule and we look to make time for ourselves together as a priority to stay connected. In my public hospital job, I work in a brain injury rehabilitation programme. And I have a really great organised team that keeps me on track with my schedule for that. I am also a clinical entrepreneur, and I’m growing my burnout recovery coaching programme to reach more healthcare professionals in Australia and to indirectly have an impact on patients in Australia. And finally, I’m a human with some human needs. So there are a few different hats that I wear and a few more that I haven’t mentioned. And it can be a juggle to manage all of them with as much attention as I would like. So what happens if I perceive I am not providing as much attention or doing as good a job as I would like to in one or more areas? Well, I might judge myself and say critical words to myself that I would not say to anyone else. And how does that help in the short term or the long term? Not at all really.
Self Compassion is a term coined by Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist and there are three parts to her definition, mindfulness, self kindness and common humanity. In the example above, through a lens of self compassion rather than judgement, I would grow my awareness of my feelings in the moment. Is there a mental energy drain that I perceive?
Secondly, I would stop judging and look inward with self kindness considering my needs in the moment. Your needs are really important and that is a lot of the work that I do in coaching clients. I work with clients so they become aware of their own needs and that meeting their own needs first is fundamental in being there for themselves and others at home and at work. Burnout occurs when one denies one’s own needs and prioritises fixing others or other problems first.
Thirdly, I would recognise these feelings of being stretched between different priorities in my life is normal, and many others go through this too. It only takes a chat at the sideline of the football pitch to hear from other parents in the same predicament. And the Juggle is so real. So this term is called common humanity and is a great concept especially in the health care world where we are valued for our cognitive strengths, with less focus on our emotional responses and needs.
And again, working with my clients in coaching, I really encourage them to become much more confident in their emotional vocabulary and identifying all the different emotions they might feel both at home and at work. So to move from a judgmental view of how you are managing to a self compassionate view might start with one of the three parts described earlier. Mindfulness, self compassion and common humanity. Maybe there is one that resonates with you first, and you would like to start with.
Finally, I want to bust some myths about self compassion in the healthcare hero culture.
One myth is that having self compassion shows weakness. In fact, self compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience available to us. So it’s a great tool to be using for both the workplace and at home.
The second myth, self compassion is selfish. So I’ve talked a lot in this episode about looking out for your own needs, and making sure you’re well in yourself and looking after yourself so you can be there for others around you. This myth is busted. Research suggests that self compassion helps people sustain the act of caring for others. And that’s what we do in healthcare. Thirdly, a myth states that self compassion is a form of self pity. Nope. The research shows self compassionate people tend to brood less about their misfortune. It all just doesn’t stick around and drain them of energy so much, they move on, they recognise it, accept what has gone on, feel the uncomfortable feeling if that’s what’s happened for them and get on to the next thing. So if you work in health care and want to share self compassion strategies with your team, what could you do?
Well, you could share some of those three myths and facts as discussed. How about building a supportive culture by reminding each other to respond to ourselves with compassion? Verbalise it, normalise it, encourage it, and recognise acts of self kindness when checking in with one person or with your team. So let’s wrap up this episode with some celebrations. I invite you to think of three things you can celebrate right now and share them with someone or write yourself a note. These can be big, these can be small. In fact, any size will do. grow from sufficiency and you may surprise yourself with what happens next.
Thank you for tuning in to the burnout recovery podcast. If you liked what you heard, please hit subscribe and head on over to my website at drjobraid.com. There you can download my free guide with 10 tips to take if you’re nearing burnout. See you next time!