You sign up for advanced Zumba. One intense hour later, you feel great. Smiling, you say to yourself, “I still got it.” Plus, that was so much fun! The following morning, you wake up feeling like you got hit by a truck. Every muscle is sore, and it hurts to shampoo your hair.
Restrictions lift and you’re back home for a visit. Your family and friends arrange a big celebratory dinner, and you’re the guest of honor. “How many people are coming?” (Gulp.) Everyone missed you, and you’re delighted to see them. So why are you hiding in the bathroom, overstimulated and exhausted, just two hours into the party?
After months of prep and worry, you launch that website, and your dream business is officially a reality. You’re instantly swamped with clients (I knew you could do it). Then, 17 straight days of non-stop work later, your spouse has filed a missing persons’ report, and you short-circuit from burnout.
Between the war in Ukraine and recovering from pandemic trauma, we’re all going through a tender era of history. Instead of trying to do too much too fast, we should wear warning labels that read, “Handle Me with Care.” So this week, I’m supercharging self-compassion for an energy shift SOS.
I’ll head back to basics by focusing on recovery essentials that repair, rebuild, and regrow. I’ll also reexamine concepts like certainty, control, and connectedness so that we can better understand how we got here, and why grace is our golden ticket out.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Debilitated from the suffering
- Don’t deny or overexaggerate your feelings
- Dr. Kristin Neff’s 3 Elements of Self-Compassion
- Preventing atrophy & apathy
- Guilt from having it good
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
I don’t offer cookie-cutter coaching, and now, my product suite matches that highly-individualized approach. My BRAND NEW Ambition VIP Series lets you build your own adventure. So what are you waiting for? Take that courageous first step in your transformation journey right here.
- Sundae’s Website
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- IN TRANSIT Hub
- Quiz: Self-Compassion Test by Dr. Kristin Neff
- Amel Derragui: Tandem Nomads
- Ambition VIP Series
Catch These Podcasts / Articles:
- Ukraine Crisis Resources
- David Rock: We Need Time to Rehabilitate from the Trauma of the Pandemic
- David Rock: Your Brain at Work
- EP159: Bending Reality
- EP272: Life Rewritten with Janine Christie
- Can you continue business as usual in the midst of a war and world crisis?
We’re delighted to be in the Top 5 of the global Best 30 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, It is 1:00 am in New York, 7:00 am in Johannesburg, and 12:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. I am an intercultural strategist, transformation facilitator, and solution-oriented coach, and I am on a mission to help you adapt & succeed through ANY life transition.
So I was a dancer for a very long time. I started at 3 and danced until about 21. I competed nationally in the United States and even taught dance at the university. But life took over when I moved to Switzerland and had to prioritize finding a job and learning the language, and integrating into an absolutely new culture and context. But something that I miss, even though I took such a long break, I still wanted to get back to it. So one day decided to take a dance class and I was really looking forward to it. I got back into the room and while the teacher was finishing with another student, I was, by the bar in front of the mirrors and was doing some warm-ups. It felt good to be back in that space again.
But what I didn’t know was that I did a little too much a little too soon. And it led me to literally not be able to walk down the stairs without pain for the next 3 days, right? I don’t know if you can relate to this but when you take a break from something and then you get back to it, you are shocked by what was lost in the meantime. Or how it feels differently to get back. And for me, another example of this is after being isolated for so long with COVID lockdowns, the first time I actually had a social gathering, I was exhausted after it.
So, these are the things that we’re discovering as we come on the tail end of this pandemic. The thing is, we’re still recovering from all of it, right? David Rock writes in his HRB article, “We need time to rehabilitate from the trauma of the pandemic.” And this is a thing, he uses the word “trauma” intentionally because it is the impact that it has on us that maybe we haven’t even fully discovered yet. He talks about some of the things that have impacted us deeply because three of our core needs were not met over such an extended time. One of them being; certainty, control, and connectedness to others. Does that sound familiar? Who doesn’t want a little bit more certainty right now? A little more control and a little bit more connection.
When I know we’re moving from South Africa to Switzerland in the near future and I am, if I’m honest, surprisingly excited about it, and I know why. Because I know that, as long as the context doesn’t change dramatically in Switzerland, I will get more certainty, more control, less isolation, and more connectedness, right? So for me, it was kind of a no-brainer to say “yes” to that. Now, here’s a caveat, this article about rehabilitating from the trauma of the pandemic was written on February 7th, 2022, and what we didn’t know then was that Russia was going to invade Ukraine just weeks Later.
For those directly involved, their life was not about rehabilitation, but about escaping an absolute crisis. And for those on the margins, it was another setback.
So in this podcast, I’m not going to go into the details about Ukraine and the context and how we’re being impacted globally by it. We’re going to focus on sort of a higher level conversation on how it can impact us big picture for those who are not at the center of the crisis.
So, I shared with a fellow coach after I had sort of recovered from the shock and what they call the weltschmerz, holding that pain, that collective pain, that I was feeling from those directly affected and those indirectly affected. We were talking about, what does this mean for us being far, physically away from the crisis? How does it impact us? And I said I feel like collectively for those of us who are small business owners and coaches and those who are working to get back into normal life, let’s say also with your work. So I felt like we were at the starting gates, ready to run. Waiting for the starting pistol to fire and then someone just chopped our legs off, right? We were all ready and we felt that optimism. I don’t know if you felt that in February of like, “Hey, we’re getting back to normal, things going to be good,” especially small business owners. And then all of a sudden we get hit with this.
And those emotions are so conflicting because if you’re not the center of the crisis, you almost feel guilty for feeling anything but using your energy to support, right? So you’re trying to hold multiple emotions at one time.
What I noticed being in touch with the global community was that intergenerational traumas were triggered. Old Wounds from those who’ve had similar crises but less support was offered for them at that moment. Or those that are most vulnerable like the LGBTQ+ community sort of having wounds reopened again because you see that people are at high risk, again. Even Russians abroad are being discriminated against just for holding the passport and I can’t even imagine what Russians in the country are going through, especially if they don’t support the president. This is complicated. It is nuanced and if there’s any time in our global community, where we need to take extra care of ourselves and extend grace to others, I think it’s now.
So the question is, how do we move forward? How do we keep moving on with our daily lives when things feel like they are so uncertain and there’s so much disparity? I noticed those who are geographically very, very close to the crisis are impacted very differently from those that are far removed. So there’s this dichotomy of things that are going on globally. This is not something that I have a magic bullet for. I wish I did but these questions are important for us to explore and it did lead myself and Amel Derragui to co-lead a conversation inside my group IN TRANSIT Hub. We were joined by special guests, Cath Brew and Sarah Black, and dozens of other individuals from around the world, who came ready to learn to share, to be in community, and to discover their own answers. And what came of that was beautiful and nuanced. I can’t go into detail of all of it, but I will share some of the insight today in combination with other experts and my own experience with my global community.
One thing that we agreed on was that it is so easy to feel paralyzed in these situations and do nothing because we don’t know what to do, or we might be stopped by our own conflicting emotions. And there is importance in giving ourselves some space to allow for that. To allow for the not knowing, to allow for the conflicting emotions, right? And to honor that and give ourselves the space to process that. At the same time, we need to give ourselves the grace that staying in that space, once we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to process will not serve anyone if we don’t do something to repair, to move forward.
So caveat anything that you’re feeling right now, anything that you’re processing, and if you’re not taking action, is totally okay, you’re giving yourself that space in grace. What we’re looking at now is what do we do once that space has been honored, and it’s time to move forward? So David Rock the author of the article that I mentioned above is a co-founder of the Neural Leadership Institute and author of Your Brain At Work. And he does offer advice in the article I mentioned about rehabilitating from the trauma of COVID. And the wise participants of this gathering that I mentioned offered very similar and complementary insight, and I’m going to consolidate that here.
First. Let’s look at this idea of rehabilitation. This is the idea of rebuilding, repairing, and regrowing. Dr. Rock says, “It’s important for us that when we are in this process of rehabilitation to allow space for setbacks since that is exactly what we were feeling at the end of February,” massive global setback, right? And in this time, it’s so important for us to be gentle with ourselves. And, one of the things I notice in coaching with others, is that we try to avoid setbacks. We try to avoid those problems, but it’s really not how that works. When we’re moving forward on anything relapse, setbacks is part of it. So when our goal is to avoid a setback, we’re actually bending reality and if you haven’t listened to my podcast on bending reality, you might not know what that means. Just briefly bending reality is when we tell ourselves one thing that doesn’t match what really is. Like when we pretend like we have more than 24 hours in a day, right?
So avoiding setbacks, I wish it were possible, but that’s just not how life works. So rather we need to think about how do we work with setbacks? And this is a little bit of a game plan for this setback and any future setback that is on our way. So Dr. Rock, along with the work of Dr. Kristin Neff suggest that a good place to start is with self-compassion. To be honest, I didn’t even know what to do with that concept of self-compassion when I first was introduced to it. I’m raised from a very hard working family, where the work ethic is very, very strong. I’m more comfortable with the terms of determination or goal achievement. It’s like, “Self-what?” I know how to give compassion to others but how do I give compassion to myself?
And I’ve learned a lot along the way and I have really needed self-compassion and noticed its healing powers and its power to be more present with others and be more present with myself. So, I’m going to talk a little bit more about that. What it does is self-compassion, it helps us be more patient with ourselves and with others. So really briefly in terms of self-compassion, for those of you who were also not familiar with self-compassion deeply, you know what the word is but what does it really mean? I’ll just briefly summarize Dr. Neff’s work. She talks about self-compassion being divided into three elements:
- Self-kindness. And that is contrary to self-judgment, right? We know self-judgment. I don’t need to give you the definition of self-judgment. So it’s moving away from judging ourselves and moving toward being kind to yourself. So it is helping us move from ignoring our pain and pausing the self-criticism, and instead, acknowledging that we need to be gentle with ourselves when we have a painful experience. Be gentle with ourselves instead of angry at ourselves when things go wrong, or we do something that we mess up. So that self-kindness versus self-judgment.
- The second element of self-compassion, she talks about mindfulness, over-identification. And so over-identification is where we are gripped by it. Where we put ourselves in their situation and we are suffering and debilitated from the suffering that we are feeling via them, right? And that is wonderful to relate to other people’s experiences. But when we are debilitated by it it can cause damage to ourselves and not support others. So it’s helping us take a more balanced approach to negative emotion so our emotions aren’t suppressed, but they’re also not exaggerated. So it’s finding this equilibrium where we can relate to others’ experiences, those who are suffering, put ourselves in their situation, and see it. But also be able to stay open to clarity. This mindfulness is where we can observe what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. And not deny that, not deny our pain or the pain of others, but also not be over-identified with our thoughts or feelings. And it sounds analytical when I say it but it’s much more embodied in a sense of like that collapse we can feel when people are suffering, and then where we identify so closely to their suffering to where we are directly suffering and then we collapse and stop functioning.
So that mindfulness, over-identification being able to notice what we’re thinking and feeling, and notice what we’re feeling without denying it or without exaggerating it.
- The third one, I saved this one for last even though she often presents it second because I have such a personal connection to it. This one is about common humanity versus isolation. And this part is this idea of, “Oh wait, other people, feel this too. Other people have gone through this before me.” That sort of opening up of, “This isn’t just me. I’m not the only one who messed up. I’m not the only one who is mortal. I’m not the only one who is imperfect. I’m not the only one who’s vulnerable,” right? Like, “Oh, this is what it means to be human. I’m a humaning right now.” And that’s this idea of common humanity and that is so connected in my mind, and I don’t know from a research perspective if Kristin Neff would say it is, but I think it’s connected to over-identification where it becomes about us, and we own and become those thoughts and emotions rather than opening it up. And seeing that we’re having a human experience.
So, those are the things of self-compassion. If you don’t know her work, I will leave a note in the show notes, you can take her Self-Compassion Quiz to find out which elements of self-compassion you are not actively nurturing. Okay, so that is a bit about self-compassion. When we can do that when we can practice those three elements, we are more patient with ourselves recognizing that we’re going to mess up, and guess what? So will others. And I think in this time, we need to give ourselves and others a little extra portion of grace because we are living in such a complex time. And when we refer back to the crisis that’s going on in March 2022, people are impacted very differently based on their geographical location, their historical context, their inner generational experiences, and traumas, right? So we do need, I think as a global community to give each other a little extra grace.
Okay, so that is important in terms of our rehabilitation process, expecting setbacks and self-compassion, also patience with ourselves and others.
The next step that is important that Dr. Rock brings up is moving. If you don’t move when you, let’s say have a physical accident, you don’t move your muscles, they atrophy. So for us, in our lives, I think it’s important about preventing atrophy or apathy. So moving is about taking those small steps for yourself and for others. So right now in terms of a crisis, we want to meet those who are most deeply impacted by the crisis first, when we think about supporting and there is this concentric circle that we look at when someone is going through a hard time, we support in and we vent out. And this idea I’ve talked about in other podcasts, but what I want to think about now is our first instinct is, how can we help? If that’s where you’re going, depending on where you are in your own global context. And you do want to help, you do want to move and take action. You could so easily be overwhelmed by what do I do?
So because this is very time-sensitive, and what needs to be done now in March 2022 might be very different from what needs to happen, let’s say three months from now, depending on how the situation evolves. I’ll put some resources in the show notes and look at them with an eye of time. Are they relevant now based on when you’re checking into them? Also, there are some resources that I’m going to add in there that apply for any time of crisis or uncertainty. I’ll make sure that I include a talk from Dr. Laura Anderson on how to talk to your children about scary worldwide events. I’ll also share a podcast from Amel Derragui and I on what you can do when you’re a family and you’re dealing with high-security risk or uncertainty. How can you make tough decisions? And also will share Amel Derragui from tandem Nomads, she’s a friend and a business partner, she has this great podcast on three reasons to keep focusing on your business in a crisis because some people feel guilty about continuing with their business, but they still have to pay their bills. So how do you move forward with, with tact and with love, and with compassion and with integrity, when a crisis is happening.
So check those resources out. Those are resources that will apply to any world events or uncertain times in the future in addition to those very time-specific resources I’ll add there.
Okay, so then the question is move. Move for others. But what about moving for yourself? So I had a client when we started our first conversation she said, “Sundae, I feel really selfish for investing in myself right now.” She said, “I have a roof over my head. My children are safe. We’re all healthy and I have a good partnership. How dare I do that when people are literally fleeing for their lives?” And this is a beautiful question. I’m seeing the love and integrity in that question. And what I learned from that gathering and what I’ve learned from those who have lived through crisis before is based on this quote from Brene Brown, “Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance.”
What good is our life if we don’t love and live it? Are we valuing life itself when we do not live and love with our whole hearts? So we have to have permission. Once we have, let’s say taken action to move in support of others who are in the crisis and we’ve done what we can, how do we then do what we can for our community, our circle, our people, in ourselves, for our whole hearts. So that is something I’m taking with me, living and loving with my whole heart and having that be an act of defiance. For those who aren’t able to have that luxury or privilege at the moment, being able to let life continue, also economically, globally, we have to keep moving on, otherwise, the entire system will collapse.
So the other things that I’ve learned and how do we move forward with ourselves so we don’t atrophy, so we don’t stop the rehabilitation process. I also learned from this gathering, humor is important in this process. It’s like, “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry my eyes out.” So let’s use some humor here. I sent a meme to a couple of friends, it’s this monkey with wild hair and it says, “Someone just asked me what my five-year plan is and I’m just trying to get to Friday.” How do we make light of this uncertainty? Humor is one of those things. Humor is a beautiful way to elevate our energy, create connection. So it’s legit a great rehabilitation strategy.
The second one is to practice self-compassion, as I mentioned above. There are three elements of self-compassion, you might want to think about which one you’re weaker at and might need to nurture a bit. That would be good to add as a practice. I always have to pause if I notice I’m being hard on myself. I have to actively pause and practice, self-compassion. But once I do, I notice my entire energy shifts.
The third is, after humor and practicing self-compassion is I call it listening for your regrowth. In the rehabilitation article, regrowth is one of those elements and unlike regrowing of tissue, which you can feel and observe when you’ve had an injury, this is about listening for regrowth of your vision, of your new game plan, right? And what I’m noticing with people is they’re saying, “I don’t want to just go back to my old life. I want to go forward with the wisdom I’ve gained, with the learning I have experienced.”
So listening for that regrowth:
- Can you name what new practices you want to bring forward with you?
- Can you name what new ways of taking care of yourself you want to bring forward?
- Can you name the values that have emerged for you as strong that you don’t want to lose?
And if you’re struggling with that, don’t worry, I’ve got your back on that but that’s an important piece of moving forward for yourself. And then the third one is to just take action. And like with rehabilitation, move but not too fast. So taking action, that first step, that first step. So that’s it. Humor, practice self-compassion, listening for your regrowth and then moving.
I know there are some of you who are listening who are like, “Yep. That’s what I needed. Thank you for the reminder. I’m ready to move forward,” and you’ve got this, right? You’re a DIYer and you’re ready to roll. There’s another group here who are probably listening and going, “This is where I want to go, but I know myself and I’m not good to do this on my own.”
So there are a couple of options that you have:
- You can join me in the IN TRANSIT Hub. That’s a free Facebook community that I lead. We are almost 3,000 strong. It is a really beautiful community of people from around the world who are connected by a common manifesto, which centers on supporting ourselves, and supporting others, living with purpose, and moving forward to take leadership in our own lives. So check that out. If you’re not already a part of the IN TRANSIT community, it’s completely free. And that will help you move through this global bumpy life transition.
- But if you know, you also do better with one-to-one support and you want a way forward, but will do better by having someone by your side. Then I’d love to talk. I’ve got two very gentle options to move forward. One is 90 minutes: Ambition Clarified, you and me for 90 minutes. You do some focusing, this encouraging you to listen for your regrowth, naming your vision and your new game plan. And then together, we come up with a plan on what those next steps would look like. The other option on how we could work together is 90 Days: Ambition Amplified, which is the first step in your own transformation. Whether this is internal led, external led, performance led, having someone there by your side so you can really start seeing results on what you want to work with.
You got a glimpse of the kind of results you can expect working with me in episode 272: Life Rewritten with Janine Christie. I’d love for you to be able to experience those kinds of shifts in your own life. So go ahead. Check out the show notes on how we can work together. Grab them now because spots are limited.
You’ve been listening to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the wisdom from Confucius, Chinese philosopher, politician, and teacher: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
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