Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Remember to be kind to yourself, too

  • 27 April 2020
Right now, there is frequent messaging that we’ll make it through the COVID-19 pandemic together. The notion that we’re stronger together and we all just need to be kind to each other is reinforced by our leaders, from celebrities and public figures, and broadcast widely across social media. Yet something is missing from this encouraging messaging set to keep our spirits up and that’s the need to offer kindness within, too.

During this time of uncertainty and distress, we need to permit ourselves to take a break and go easily on ourselves with the small stuff, like dishes still needing to be washed or those seeds still lying unplanted.

As with any crisis, it’s normal for many of us to have heightened levels of stress, anxiety, fear and confusion, which are compounded right now with feelings of uncertainty. As Olivia Willis wrote for the ABC, ‘The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly disrupted the ways in which we live and work, and many of us are feeling understandably stressed, confused, and frightened.’

Many Australians have lost their jobs, have had massively reduced hours, or know someone who is struggling from the job cuts. We’ve all been cut off from physically seeing those within our orbits and many are missing social connection. Plus, there’s an air of anxiety around our safety and the safety of those we love. As a country, we’re in a state of unease.

So, part of self-kindness is allowing yourself to feel bad when you need to feel bad. What’s going on is a lot, and sometimes it’s hard to feel like we are allowed to feel bad because there are a lot of people worse off. And yes, perspective indeed is a much needed and important thing right now, but we also need to remember that we’re going through a pandemic — it’s okay to not feel great all the time. While it’s essential to manage stress and anxiety, especially if you’re prone to mental illnesses, it’s reductive to force yourself to feel positive without acknowledging negative feelings when they arise.

As Psychologist Lea Waters, from the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, was quoted in ABC Life, ‘People think there's a hierarchy to suffering, and if the thing that's causing you disappointment is lower on the hierarchy we have this tendency to dismiss our emotions.’


'Being in isolation doesn’t give you extra hours to be productive when you’re