Listen To Your Body podcast 277 Self-Compassion In Uncertain Times w/ Steph Gaudreau

Self-Compassion In Uncertain Times

We are in a rapidly changing world right now, and I have noticed a lot of self-judgment being perpetuated as we all rush to adapt to this ‘new normal’. During times of stress and change, it is common to look to our bodies and our nutrition as something that we can control, and we shame ourselves when we may not get it right.

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It Is The Time To Honor Your Feelings & Emotions During This Crazy Time

This episode is all about cultivating some self-compassion and human connection during these uncertain times. Instead of shaming yourself into being productive, I want you to ask yourself what is it that will nourish you most right now? Whether the answer is sitting on the couch and watching Netflix or taking advantage of your ability to move your body, it is all okay, and nothing to feel bad about.

Self-compassion is one of the three main pillars of body acceptance and intuitive eating, and it is only by being non-judgemental, treating yourself and others with loving care and implementing some mindfulness that you can find the peace you are craving.

It is time to honor your feelings and emotions during this crazy time and recognize that you are not alone. We are all in this together, learning as we go and adapting to an ever-changing situation. Are you ready to focus on what your body needs most right now? Share how you are handling this pandemic with us in the comments below.

On Today’s Episode

  • Why you shouldn’t shame yourself into finding a sense of normalcy (7:40)
  • How to adjust the way you use movement during this period of quarantine (12:47)
  • Tips for figuring out what is going to nourish your body and avoiding shame (16:33)
  • The three main parts of self-compassion and how to work towards mastery (18:31)
  • What you can do to foster a shared sense of human connection and empathy (23:20)

Resources Mentioned In This Show


“I think there is a really important difference between cultivating some sense of normalcy in these times, versus getting really judge-y with ourselves for not being able to stick to what’s normal.” (7:31)

“If your situation has changed, even a little bit… it still takes some adjustment, it takes time and space oftentimes, to adjust. And that’s okay.” (11:09)

“Know that in these times, when things are uncertain and you feel a lack of control in other areas, its oftentimes a common response.” (14:16)

“We just have to ride the wave, it will pass. But you are in a transitional state right now, and this is where self-compassion comes in.” (15:42)

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much empathy towards others and self-compassion right now are the two pieces that we really need. We can’t only take care of ourselves here, we can’t only be self-centered because then we lose the greater sense of our shared humanity.” (23:53)

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Listen To Your Body Podcast is sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association. Registration is now open for the NTA’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program. Learn more and save your seat (and don’t forget to mention my name on your application!)

man and woman cooking in the kitchen with veggies and chopping board

Self-Compassion In Uncertain Times w/ Steph Gaudreau FULL TRANSCRIPT

This is Episode 277 of the Listen To Your Body podcast on the show today I’m doing a solo episode about cultivating self-compassion in uncertain times. The next evolution of harder to kill radio is here. Welcome to the Listen To Your Body podcast. on this show, we’ll explore the intersection of body, mind and soul health, and help you reclaim your abilities to eat and move more intuitively. Hear Your body’s signals, and trust yourself more deeply. I’m Steph Gaudreau, a certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner, and strength coach. On this podcast. You can expect to hear expert guest interviews and solo chats that will help you deepen your trust with food movement and your body. Remember to hit the subscribe button and share this podcast with your friends and loved ones. Now, on to the show.

Hello, welcome to the show today. Thanks so much for tuning in. Wow. A lot has changed since the last time I recorded a show and that was only a week ago.

I feel like I don’t have the right words to kick off this podcast today. All I know is that I’m going to show up for you and share some really important thoughts about cultivating self-compassion, particularly when it comes to movement and food in these, for lack of a better term uncertain times. So since the last time I recorded a show, or even recorded with a guest, a lot is changing in the world and this episode is coming out a couple about a week and a half from when I’m sitting down and recording it. I don’t know what’s going to change between now and then I have no clue. Suffice to say, in this unfolding global situation, I’m noticing a lot of things that people are sharing about their struggles and the things that they are being hard on themselves for. And I think it’s important to share and talk about those things and be open about what we’re dealing with so that we can help each other. But I also wanted to pass on some general thoughts that I have, as an intuitive eating counselor, as a nutritional therapist as a strength coach, as somebody who has been at the head of this community now for nearly a decade. And some of the things that I would just like To pass on to you as words to take and marinate on, and consider in this time, so we’re going to be covering some of that today in this episode, those This is the first time I want to share this particular resource for you. So I put together a 30 day of dumbbell workouts that you can do at home, it’s free, if you want to do this, if it makes sense for you, if it resonates cool, if not feel free to just pass on by and not take advantage of it at this time. But I put this together this week, just a couple of days ago. And this is the first time I’m able to offer it in this platform. So if you want to grab that, then go to, and I will send it to you and of course if you want to grab that URL, you can go to the show notes on the website as well. You’ll also see it all over the website. It is a free resource for you. It’s just, you know, if that’s one small way, along with things like this podcast that I can be of service, then I would love for you to be able to take advantage of that.

And, you know, one of the best things I ever did for myself professionally was to put myself through the nutritional therapy associations NTP program, I did that in 2018. And I really looking back can see how incredibly important it was in my ability to be able to approach and address people’s nutrition from a really bio-individual approach from a range of nutritional strategies, everything from how to properly prepare foods, how to restore balance in the body, how to include things like emotional well being, the role of the environment, sleep, movement, stress, all of that was so incredibly powerful, so important in my ability to listen to my body to my ability to coach people through what that’s like. The MTA is a sponsor of today’s show. And I want to encourage you if you’ve been wondering what their programs are like, what you’ll learn in terms of motivational interviewing your clinical and practical skills, everything that you need to know to be able to work with people from a bio-individual approach to nutrition, head over to their website, nutritional there’s a link also in my show notes that you can check it out and if you want to hear my episode that I did on nutritional therapy, then go ahead and tune in to Episode 188. Their registration is now open and seats are going to fill up pretty quickly. So go over to nutritional therapy comm to learn more and of course, if you join, don’t forget to mention my name on your application.

Okay, so let’s jump into the topic today, which is cultivating some self-compassion in these really uncertain times. So everybody is going to cope with things in their own way. Yes, I want to be extremely mindful and respectful of that. But I’ve also noticed a lot of self-judgment. And I want to talk about that today just to kind of unpack it a little bit. And I also want to speak on some of the stuff that I’m seeing which, to me yet the languaging that I’m seeing gets a little bit shamy about, you know, you should be using this time wisely and like, you know, there’s no excuses and stuff like that, which makes me really cringe. I was messaging back and forth with Maya Ferenc who is on the show recently. We were Instagram dm each other about some of the things that we’re seeing, and, uh, you know, here’s what it comes down to. for me. I think there’s a really important difference between cultivating some sense of normalcy in these times versus getting really judgy with ourselves for not being able to stick to what’s normal. And I think this is a really nuanced conversation, yet very important. So for example, for you, continuing some kind of movement practice, maybe one of the ways that you introduce or you are able to stay connected to a sense of normalcy, and not everybody who uses exercise or movement is doing it in a Negative way or coming from a place of controlling them themselves in their bodies. For some people, it really is about boosting their mood about the endorphins that they get about releasing some energy and moving that energy through their body, about just being able to be focused on something like the task at hand instead of getting caught up in a lot of the anxious feelings that people are having right now. So there’s, I think, a difference between that you know, hey, I want to stay connected to some kind of movement practice, I may have to modify it to where I am right now in my situation, my gym closed, which a lot of them are, you know, if I have to work out from home if I’m now working from home, if I’m working outside the home still like and I’ve got child care situations or got homeschool situations happening like there’s a lot that’s up in the air. But if that movement, practice or some movement practice allows you to stay connected to, you know, some semblance of movement as a way to manage your mood to move energy through your body to focus on something other than the scary stuff that’s going on right now. That’s wonderful. But what I would like to caution against or at least to make mention of is the fact that if you’re beating yourself up right now, because you usually work out in a gym and you do it six times a week, which I hear from, you know, people go to the gym every single day, that works for them. That’s great. But be those folks feeling in some cases feeling like they’re unable to translate that to their home situation seamlessly. And a lot of people have been sharing Hey, I feel like I’m really struggling. You know, I don’t have any motivation to work out at home right now. What’s wrong with me? How can I fix this? Or being upset with themselves or down on themselves for not being able to seamlessly just roll into something else, and feeling really bad about it. So I just want to remind you that if your situation has changed even a little bit, even if it’s more minor, I mean, we have a whole spectrum of people in this community, people who are significantly impacted to people, sort of like myself, who work from home and are kind of a hermit as it is. I mean, I like really, I work from home by myself like, this is not a huge departure from my normal schedule, so on and so forth, at least at the moment. There may be things that for you, even if they’re small, even if they’re more minor, are still disruptions for you. It still takes some adjustment it takes time and space oftentimes to adjust and that’s okay. Yoga is okay. It is okay to not feel like all of a sudden your gym closed and the next day you’re going to have it perfectly sorted out and you’re going to feel like every day waking up and rolling right out of bed and doing the same kind of workout. It is an adjustment. Me, for example, I go to jujitsu, three mornings, three weekday mornings a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday morning. And normally I have no problem getting out of the house, you know, 636 40 I leave the house, get to class, et cetera, et cetera. I do also work out from home occasionally. And now obviously I have to do that. But yeah, sometimes I don’t feel like going out on my porch and doing a workout at 630 in the morning or seven in the morning. And so I finally Ways to put it in my day that are different from the norm.

Okay, and if I’m, if I don’t get a, you know, obviously I don’t have a home gym a full home gym set up here at my house. I don’t have a squat rack with barbells and that kind of stuff. I’ve got four kettlebells and unpack and one set of bands. That’s it. All right. And I know that’s more than some people have. So I don’t mean to say that that’s nothing. But even for me, it’s taken just as an adjustment in how I view things. I’m like, cool. I didn’t necessarily get a workout today, but I danced around my house, and I’m standing up working and dancing at my desk. That’s okay. So I just this is my reminder to you, my gentle with kindness, reminder that if things are not the normal way you’re used to them, and you’re trying to figure it out, that’s okay. I also know First some of you out there, you push real hard. You’re always on the go, always pushing hard, always going hard, always trying to make things happen. Great. And that’s fine. If that works for you. No, there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s working for you in your life, but when you’re faced with a huge change in your schedule, your working circumstances, your life circumstances, there’s oftentimes that period of just your body, craving, rest, your body craving rest, and this is where I see a lot of these scary fears coming out for people and not that these are wrong or bad if you have if you feel this way. This is a normal feeling. But you have to understand that it’s oftentimes coming from sort of a lack of feeling control and other places in your life. One of the first places we turn to is trying to control our food and our bodies. And so if you’re feeling like that, If I don’t keep up with my normal workout schedule, that’s going to make me gain weight. And I’m afraid of that, know that in these times when things are uncertain, and you feel a lack of control in other areas, it’s oftentimes a common response to feel like, well, I need to crack down on my food, or I need to keep up the same pace of my workouts. Because if not, my body’s going to change in a way that I don’t like. And so this is where self-compassion comes in. And I wanted to talk about this. So again, you’re not bad or wrong for having those feelings. You’re not bad or wrong for eating for emotional reasons.

Well, I’m going to do a whole separate episode about that. And these are just two examples. You’re not bad or wrong for saying, you know what today I just don’t feel like it. And maybe tomorrow, I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like getting up and doing that. like super high-intensity bodyweight workout in my house or doing some kind of a weights workout or, like you’re not bad or wrong for all Honoring what your body is asking for. And in these times, I feel like what I’m noticing what I’m sensing in as the so I sent a lot of what’s the energy that’s going on in the community? I sense this like, Oh, no, I ate some quote junk food, right? What’s wrong with me, I’m, this is bad, I’m gonna go down a bad path. When sometimes that stuff happens. And we like we just kind of have to ride the wave, just have to ride the wave. It will pass, but you’re in a transitional state right now. So this is where self-compassion comes in. And self-compassion is one of the three pillars that I talk about. I teach about when I teach things like intuitive eating an intuitive movement and body acceptance. So the three pillars are self-knowledge, self-care, and self-compassion. We can talk about the other two at some other point. So let’s talk about the self-compassion piece. invented self-compassion as a concept. If you really want a deep dive on this go look at Kristin Neff, her book called self-compassion. She talks a lot about this. This is her area of research. But here’s what it basically boils down to. And I wanted to share this with you at this time, think about or ask yourself, what would nourish me the most right now. And sometimes that is Netflix and sitting on the couch. And sometimes it is getting up and moving your body. Sometimes it’s eating the chocolate and sometimes it’s, you know, looking for some vegetables to put on your plate. What will nourish me the most right now what will nurture me the most right now? I really want you to think about that question. Because the answer is not always the same. And this is where the shamy stuff comes in that I’ve been seeing where it’s like, instead of this you should be blah. Like instead of watching Netflix, you should be going for a walk and listening to a podcast. I don’t know if we can say that. That’s true. For everybody, and I don’t think and I don’t necessarily think that people who do these things and put out these memes and graphics sit down to actually truly think about the nuance and the variation in the people in their community and the fact that even for one person what’s nourishing, and most nurturing right now might be that walk, and that might make them feel really great. But for another person, it might be sitting down and resting, or for me, two days from now, it might be taking a rest it might not be trying to be fucking productive. And there we go, Hey, don’t get me riled up. It might not be like getting being the most productive at all times. Like I’m seeing a little bit of this pressure to be like, we’ve got to do everything. And I understand Yes, finding a healthy distraction, sometimes is one of the ways we cope with our emotions, finding a healthy distraction. Okay, yes, that that is the case. However, there’s a difference between finding a healthy distraction right now if you’re just like this all this is like super a lot for me to handle in the moment, and I have to fill every fucking waking minute of my day with productivity. There’s a huge difference there. It is subtle, but it’s, it’s massive.

So self-compassion has these three main parts. Okay, the first one. Now, before I say these,
you’re probably not going to ever master these in your whole life, all at one time. You might be in different states or different sorts of places with learning these things for yourself. You might be better at one of these things than the other right now. That’s okay. Nobody’s perfect at these. So but here’s the three major components, mindfulness. So mindfulness is the capacity to become aware of what’s going on in your own thinking. So becoming aware, it’s kind of like being able to think about your own thinking almost like that metacognition, what are the thoughts that you’re having, we have thoughts all day long, all day long, we cannot really stop them. Maybe in some very advanced types of meditation practice, so you can work on stopping all of your thinking. But even if you’re doing something like a breathing, mindfulness meditation, where you’re focusing on your breath, your thoughts are going to wander eventually, and then you bring it back to the breath, right? So there’s a difference, though, between having a thought and making it true. And making it the thing that I need to put my attention into, and then that becomes the driver of my feelings. And that becomes the driver of my app, those become the driver of my actions. So can we become aware of at least what’s happening in our internal worlds our internal landscape, and practicing non-judgment? So that’s the second piece of mind fullness. Alright, so the first part of the self-compassion kind of triad is mindfulness. Can I practice non-judgment? So if I have thoughts that are challenging, if I have feelings that are challenging, can I observe them without further adding the pain of self-judgment on top of it? I’m bad for having these challenging feelings. I’m wrong for having these challenging feelings. I’m failing for having these challenging feelings. That is, that’s something perhaps to investigate or to become more aware of. Okay, so that’s the first kind of leg of this tripod, the second leg self-kindness, treating yourself with loving care. I know this is really hard for I know it’s not easy. All the time. It’s not easy all the time to treat yourself with love and care. But this is really that kind of self-kindness self-care piece. This is really the part where we’re looking to respect our bodies to say what could I do for myself right now that is the most nervous For me, and it could be anything from I’m going to make myself eat a meal right now because I really do need the energy. And even though I’m feeling an increase of stress, like people tend to react in one of two ways, which is stress increases, cortisol kind of shuts off, cortisol rises in their appetite kind of shuts down. Or we’re dealing with a lot of, you know, the one the way that we know how to cope is to eat food as a way to soothe our emotions. Again, not a bad thing. But do you want to learn other strategies to put into the mix? That’s oftentimes where things get a little bit muddy with Intuit not muddy with intuitive eating, but they get a little bit tricky for people because they’re like, well, if emotional eating isn’t bad, then why am I feeling like I’m always eating my emotions?

And it comes down to you know, what other strategies can we investigate and I’ll go through a whole series shortly, in the next couple months with intuitive eating, but when it comes to emotions, you know what other things can we implement what other? What other things can we try in terms of honoring those feelings, those emotions, even being able to identify our feelings and our emotions in the moment? And what other skills do we want to or practices do we want to add to our virtual quiver of things that we could do when we’re feeling emotions that are challenging, other than eating right? Eating for comfort? or eating for emotional reasons is not across the board a bad thing? So that’s just one example. But how are you going to treat yourself with loving care? And so I also see a lot of things where it’s sort of people are saying, you know, I’m just all I’m going to do now is just eat junk food all day long. Because I don’t have my normal BMI sense of normalcy, again, is skewed, and I have to say okay, like, while that’s a natural response in some ways, how can we identify what would be the most nourishing for us in the moment? You know, what would make our bodies feel the best? And sometimes it is eating the fucking brownies, and sometimes it is eating the fucking broccoli. I don’t know, it’s different for everybody. So what can I do to treat myself with
kindness, okay, and then the last part? So we have mindfulness, self-kindness, and number three, a shared sense of humanity. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much empathy toward others and self-compassion right now are the two pieces that we really need. We can only ever take care of ourselves here we can only be self-centered. Because then we lose the greater sense of our shared humanity of the fact that this may not be directly impacting me right now, but it could impact other people around me. Even people I don’t know, not just my friends and family or my immediate co-workers or whoever it is, but this real shared sense of humanity. So we need that, right? We need empathy for other people. We also can’t forget about ourselves in these cases and only ever get carried away isn’t the right phrase turn of phrase. So please forgive me here. But we can’t only ever be focused on everyone else, we have to also take care of us we have to, even if we’re on call, even if we’re being asked to really be out there on the frontlines of the healthcare situation, like how can we find those moments of, of caring for ourselves, and I really do feel for those of you who are in that situation, but it’s really thinking about how can you connect with other people and recognize that you aren’t alone in what you’re going through? Yes, we have this social distancing. Some of us shelter in place, some of us in the world are under quarantine, or we really cannot leave for any reason. And so how can we still stay connected? How can we still have that sense of, we’re not alone in this? And there are so many people offering creative things right now I just did very recently, like a group knitting class on zoom. I mean, it’s like what can we do to have some kind of shared sense of connection the in this moment, especially is really, really important. So those are the things I would like to pass on to you this week. As always, you know, kind of an imperfect conversation but things that I’m noticing, and I would just really ask that these times you’ve to give yourself grace to not have it perfect. We are all learning here. We are all Being trying to be adaptable, we are all trying to be flexible. We are all trying to deal with changing situations, sometimes by the hour, by the day by the week.
And it’s, it’s hard.

It is hard. But it is also, I think an opportunity to look for how we can support each other how we can take care of ourselves and perhaps a different way than we haven’t been and look for those moments to boost both empathies for others and compassion for yourself. Okay, if you’d like a place to connect, please consider joining my Core Four club on Facebook. This is a community. It’s a diet culture-free zone. And we would just love to have you there to cultivate that sense of connection as best we can. A virtual space is very hard to substitute for real-life connections, but we’re doing what we can. So you can do that over at Facebook. Core four club, make sure if you haven’t grabbed those workouts dumbbell workouts at home, you can do that at and of course, you can go ahead and grab that over at the show notes including a full transcript. Alright, until next week when I will be back with more please be well.

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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