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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.



We are potentially facing a second lock-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and if I learned anything from the first shut-down and last eight months it is to not be so hard on yourself. Honestly, easier said than done.


It is hard not to get anxious or depressed especially when we now have all the time in the world to view social media posts. It seems like everyone is having their pandemic glow-up, working out more, eating healthier, and organizing their homes. The thing about social media is you can portray your life however you want. The reality of it is that most people are also struggling, which is normal since the entire country is experiencing a lifestyle change. No one wants to be stuck at home. It feels like we are missing out on a huge part of our lives, which is true. But it is also true that you are not the only one experiencing life a little different than planned. 


As much as we want to change the reality of life, we have to wait and see what happens. I did not think I would be ever living through a global pandemic, but here we are. We have to try our bests to stay safe and be precautious, but at the same time, our mental health is deteriorating under these conditions. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in suicides during this period. As someone who struggled with mental illness before the pandemic, I understand just how tough life can be right now. 


I want to share what I have learned about avoiding self-criticism. It has helped me rationalize my feelings during this difficult time in history. Self-criticism is when we judge or criticize ourselves, we believe that doing this will pressure us into being better or improving how we live. I am a huge advocate for living your life how you want to, but using hate to change is only bullying your own minds. Yes, they contain motivation but it is really worth the stress, anxiety, and tears, that come with it. Motivation can be found in other places, like inspiration. You should not make yourself feel bad about yourself. 


Here is how to avoid these self-criticisms. Start by figuring out what the self-criticism is personally I write them down. An example would be, my self-criticism: if I make a mistake I give myself a hard time. Then, you would find a counter to the self-criticism. Do not take everything so seriously, even the best people make mistakes. The same can be done for negative thoughts and anxious thoughts. You need to provide yourself with a rational counter statement. Most times there is no significant evidence that supports self-criticisms. If you can debunk the thoughts it makes it seem a little easier to get through the situation. 

All of this seems so simple, but in reality, it can be hard to be kind to yourself. When finding rational thoughts to counter the self-criticisms try to think what you would say to a friend or a child. It is much easier to give positive reinforcement to friends or children because you want to show them love and compassion. Believe it or not, we are allowed to give ourselves the same amount of love and compassion, maybe even more. We are the ones that have to sit with our own thoughts every day all day, so while it is difficult trust me I know, we want our minds to be full of positive thoughts as much as possible. 


I sincerely hope the coping mechanism of avoiding self-criticisms helps anyone who is currently struggling. It takes practice, I have learned that for myself, but with a little practice it might be worth it, even if it just makes a few days go by easier.

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