Remember, back in normal times, when we could easily get mad at ourselves because we hadn't accomplished this or that? Well, these are not normal times, and some things won't be like they were ever again, so maybe the way we treat ourselves needs a little adjustment as well.
First of all, please remind yourself that none of what is going on in our world right now is your fault, so you don't get to blame yourself. You may not think that you are doing that, but just ask yourself, how much more upset with yourself have you been since the pandemic started?
Many of us feel that since the world is in disarray, we have to do everything that's put in front of us perfectly. Well, that won't ever happen, and it's not a bad thing. It's just life, and by being a little easier on yourself, you can more easily tap into your inner strength. Much better than beating yourself up over not being perfect.
Besides, things are not going to go the way they used to. There will be more bumps in the road, and the way forward is uncertain. We really don't know what's going to happen in the next year with the virus or the election, and that just makes everybody more tense. It just makes sense to ride this out with a cushion of understanding about your life, because it will simply help you be more comfortable.
If you cut yourself some slack and stop demanding a perfect performance, life will become much more relaxing. This doesn't mean letting everything fall apart. You will get things done, but without the added pressure of perfectionism.
All that's really required of you is that you survive this time. You don't have to be on a self-improvement course, get your real estate license, or learn a foreign language.
You also don't have to make something happen in an environment where most everyone and everything is retracting. Wait until things improve - and they will - and then you will have an opportunity to revisit the dreams you have put on hold.
If you are someone with lots of drive and ambition - which is great! - this could be a very hard time for you. I suggest that you find a direction that allows you to upgrade your profile, like getting an MBA or a PhD. Once this is over, those sheepskins will come in handy once again.
Many businesses are shutting down and consolidating, so elective care or even something as simple as a massage is harder to come by. Self-care is your best alternative. Self-neglect won't help you feel better, so you need to find ways to stay in a place where you feel good about yourself.
Maintaining a good diet and getting exercise are more important than ever. Taking care of your health will serve you now and later in life. If that's not something in which you've invested much energy, now seems like the perfect time to start. It's also a good way of loving yourself, and we could all do a little more of that.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com.)(c)2020 Barton Goldsmith, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.