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What to Do If You're Struggling With Negative Self-Talk While in Isolation

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We’re living in a world of uncertainty. People are losing jobs at a dramatic rate, especially in the hospitality or beauty industry. The stock market is falling. Health care is being stretched to its limit. The only certainty is uncertainty. All news seems to be bad news.

We’re spending more time by ourselves with social distancing, self-quarantine and self-isolation.

People are scared. You are probably scared. Anxiety is rising everywhere. You may find yourself crying or yelling more. What can we do?

Be kind to yourself.

We talk to ourselves inside our heads more than we talk to any other person. I realized not that long ago just how negatively I spoke to myself. Have you ever really listened to your inner voice? It is too easy to believe that critic inside yourself.

You’re not doing this right.

You don’t know what you’re doing.

You’re a (insert negative adjective here).

Why did I say that?

Why did I do that?

Inner Voice Exercise

How do you find out what your inner voice is telling you? Here is an exercise therapists use to help you to face your own critic. Grab a notebook and pen. Do not use a computer. You want to write this by hand. Clear your mind through a five-minute meditation or some deep breaths, then write for 10 minutes about what your inner voice is telling you. Don’t stop. Just write what comes up, the positive and negative. Now put it away. Do it again tomorrow. On the following day, read both. Can you see some patterns? Can you see how negative or demanding your inner voice is? Can you recognize the voice of other people? I found my inner voice told me in every which way possible my life was not as important as everyone around me. It was a startling discovery. Therapy helped me realize I needed to put myself first.

Another idea is to picture your adult self talking to yourself as a child. I find I speak more gently to my younger self than my current self.

I do know beating yourself up doesn’t help. So be patient and kind to yourself. You need your own support and love more than ever.

Other self-kindness ideas include:

1. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I am amazing!” or something similar.

2. Repeat a mantra such as, “I am beautiful, I am blissful, I am bountiful.”

3. Tell yourself: This isn’t an easy time. I am doing the best I can. It is OK if I make mistakes. I can do it!

4. Distract yourself with music or a mantra when you find yourself talking in a negative inner voice.

5. Talk to yourself gently.

6. Talk to a supportive friend or family member.

7. Watch an uplifting movie.

8. Read inspirational sayings.

So, what will you say to yourself?

Do your best to stop listening to the negative inside your head. Use music, mantras, inspirational sayings, talk to someone and more. Practice being kind to yourself, and it will get easier every day.

You are amazing. You are doing the best you can. You can do it!

Remember, when you are kind to yourself, it is easier to pass on that kindness to others.

Concerned about coronavirus? Stay safe using the tips from these articles:

See more from Natalie at Everyday Self-Care.

Getty image by simonapilolla

Originally published: March 31, 2020
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