Self-compassion is an extraordinary tool right now, and yet, I, for one, have not entirely been practicing what I preach. That’s because I too sometimes struggle with how, exactly, I can give myself a break. Sheltering in place, job loss or interpersonal shifts — the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are real. This creates constant uncertainty and anxiety that can easily translate into chronic stress and fear.
This negative energy can have devastating consequences for mental health, physical health, and daily life. And we traders, are not immune. Although so much is out of our control at this point, one of the major self-care tools each individual has is the ability to mindfully engage in ongoing self-compassion.
There are three elements of self-compassion. The first is to be mindful and understand that everyone makes mistakes. The second is to be gentle with yourself and focus on what you can learn from your mistakes. And lastly, evaluate yourself with honesty.
You may be asking, “OK Beth? That sounds great in theory, but how do I apply this in my life? Or more importantly, during a crisis??”
I know many of us are alone, confused, overwhelmed, and worried. So many of us feel in the middle of this dreadful situation of unprecedented proportions. The markets don’t care, but we do! And this is why self-compassion is so important.
I know everyone has the ability to practice ongoing self-compassion. And you deserve to treat yourself with some self-love today!
Here are seven tips to treat yourself with self-compassion during a crisis:
1. Re-evaluate what Overall Productivity Means
When it comes to living your best life amid a global crisis, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be okay sometimes with doing the bare minimum.
Frame your to-do list as goals, not musts.
Break them down into smaller achievements. This way you’ll have wins, not failures.
2. Adjust Your Mindset
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do now, focus on what you can do. Then focus on what plans you can make for the future.
Break down your goals into short-term and long-term versus making a giant to-do list. This is similar to step one, but this step allows you to imagine a better future and to feel confident that things indeed will get better. And you’ll be ready when this happens.
3. Honor Your Emotions
Whether you are sad, angry, frustrated or anxious, good self-compassion dictates that you allow yourself to acknowledge and feel your emotions. Don’t over-intellectualize your emotions. This is true in trading and true in life! Allow yourself to sit with the emotion, understand it is just that, and move on.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is so apropos to trading! Like Mike says, those self-proclaimed “gurus” on twitter or Instagram have nothing to offer you other than disappointment and self-doubt. You need to honor yourself and your system. If it doesn’t look as perfect as someone else’s, that’s because no one’s life is perfect. Only those who wish to sell someone something will hide behind this persona. I believe if you did pull back the curtain on them, you’d be relieved to know You. Are. Not. Them!
5. When You’re Feeling Helpless, Help Someone Else
This is my favorite! Get out of your own head, judgment, and space, and focus on someone else. Helping others does wonders for our immune system, which is of utmost importance these days. This behavior allows us to feel connection and meaning, which can be especially helpful given the distinct dearth of those things right now. So if you have the bandwidth, try offering your support outwardly.
6. Find Moments for Self-Care When Possible
Think about whatever act it is that centers you, and be sure to prioritize that in your day or week. Be it meditation, exercise, taking a walk in nature, a phone call with a friend, etc. And don’t let guilt get in the way. Far from being selfish, self-care is one of the most effective, compassionate things you can do, not only for yourself, but for others.
7. Mute that critical voice in your head
We’ve all been there. A trade goes bust and we beat ourselves up mentally. Be sure to take a few deep breaths and really listen to your breath. Soon, those nagging thoughts will have disappeared.
Also, don’t forget to practice gratitude. I know, I bring this up a lot in my posts, but I’m speaking from experience. When I do my daily (what has now become almost hourly) practice of gratitude, it truly is the best way to free myself of worry. Trust me on this! And it’s not always being grateful for what we “have,” but for what we’ve accomplished. Even if it’s just making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich for dinner (yes, I just admitted to having limited cooking skills in that I would put this on my list), but for now, it’s the little things … they add up — you’ll see!
I hope you treat yourself to some self-compassion and self-care today, and if you have any questions, be sure to comment below or email me directly at [email protected]
And don’t forget to check out more of my posts for additional health and wellness insight to improve your trading success during this crisis:
Beth Marconi is an experienced corporate consultant, personal lifestyle coach and member of the MARA team. As a Certified Nutritional Consultant, she ties health and wellness to trading successfully in the market.