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The importance of self compassion

Contrary to what we might assume, a recent survey of carers in England found that it was not the frequency of challenging behaviours that was the most significant predictor of stress. It was carers’ sense of competence and guilt about the care they were giving (Feast et al 2016).

Knowing you have followed a similar process to others can be reassuring. But learning not to be too critical of your thoughts and actions is key, as we all face individual and unique circumstances.

And as carers have told us, when you are having a bad day, it is not always possible to talk about it to the person you care for, which can often leave you feeling isolated. Finding time for your own needs and wishes is really important.


And the hardest question she asked me was ‘What do you like to do in your spare time?’ And I had to think…it’s all been nipped away at, all the way along

Barbara keeps up interests by attending her local University of the Third Age and getting involved in many activities, providing valuable time to herself. Her husband is also a keen photographer, and continues to share his hobby with his friends.

We have included a link below to a 12 question version of Dr Kristin Neff’s self-compassion questionnaire. This short survey generates a score showing whether you have low, average or high levels of self-compassion.

It is harder to show compassion for others if we do not have compassion for ourselves.

If you took the survey, did you learn anything about your own “self-compassion”?

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This article is from the free online course:

Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well

Newcastle University

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