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Seven Steps for Self Love

As we deal with confinement, scary news stories, and a shuttered economy, self-care is more important than ever. Sheltering in place alone can lead to feelings of anxiety and isolation. On the other hand, caring for a home and family with little opportunity to take a break can leave you feeling stressed, fatigued and short-tempered, and even lead to burnout.

In this podcast, Kora Schmid, palliative care supervisor and spiritual care advisor at MarinHealth, shares seven ways to practice self-love in difficult times. Your physical, mental, and emotional health are all interconnected and this podcast offers actionable advice that can improve your wellness all the way around.
Seven Steps for Self Love
Featured Speaker:
Kora Schmid, BCC
Sabine “Kora” Schmid has been serving the MarinHealth Medical Center Community for almost 17 years in various capacities. Currently she oversees the MarinHealth Medical Center inpatient palliative care department, as well as MarinHealth Supportive Care | A UCSF Health Clinic. Kora is an ordained Interfaith minister.
Seven Steps for Self Love

Bill Klaproth (Host):   The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of fear and anxiety. Now more than ever it’s important for individuals to take care of themselves and even cut themselves some slack. Personal intuition can serve as a guide, but there are also some simple steps to keep in mind so you can give yourself the love you need. So let’s learn more with Kora Schmid, palliative care supervisor and spiritual care advisor at MarinHealth. This is the Healing podcast from MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Kora, thank you so much for your time. It’s a pleasure to talk with you. Certainly in these stressful times it’s really important to practice self-love. So you’ve come up with seven easy and effective ways to do that. Let’s run through the list one through seven and have you explain those to us. So number one, prioritize your own feelings. Make sure you put yourself first. Remember, that’s not being selfish, right?

Kora Schmid, BCC (Guest):   That is right. But first off, thank you for having me Bill. It’s a pleasure to be here and have that conversation about self-love. And yes, prioritizing one’s own feeling and putting self-first, that’s absolutely not being selfish.

However, and I speak there maybe a little bit for the female gender, we are the caregivers. We are the nurturers in the families, and within the communities and within the world at large. Women have that societal standard of yeah, we give care. To say that, “Oh I have a self.” That’s not being taught. That’s often a relearning that we have to go through intentionally to embrace the self and to say yes to the self because that contains the love.

Host:   Such a great point. Embrace the self. We have to relearn that because it sounds like we forget about the self and yourself. So make sure you relearn that work hard to embrace it. Number two, boy this is a big one. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Kora:   Oh yes, that is a big one. Once again, going back to childhood. It all starts there. Saying no is not what is expected of us. That goes for both gender. Because yeah when we say yes, we look good. It feels good. That’s how it’s being taught. However, to say no that is often perceived as oh you are resistant, or you are defensive. Whatever it is. It doesn’t have the positive connotation to it. However, if you say no and you set the appropriate boundaries what it also does is it supports others to come to the same conclusion of maybe once in a while a no is far better than to always say yes.

Host:   Such a good point. I know I have a problem with that. Ten when you say no, you feel guilty then too right away.

Kora:   Right, exactly.

Host:   I hate that. So that’s a good one. Don’t be afraid to say no. Alright, number three. Ask for help. Ask for what you need in a time of need. Again, I think a lot of us don’t do that. We just kind of withdraw inside. We don’t ask for help, but it sounds like we need to do that.

Kora:   Right. No, we don’t because we pride ourselves when we say, “Oh, I can do this on my own. I am self-sufficient. I am self-reliant.” You know there's a lot of self out front. However, to say I need help, it allows others to come in. Another person, a partner or a colleague or a community to say, “Oh, we are right here.” We are not an island. We are made to be in community. Community takes care of it’s members. So we don’t have to carry the heavy burden or the responsibilities all on our own, but it requires letting the other in.

Host:   So it’s okay to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness.

Kora: Absolutely not. The contrary. Knowing I can ask for help—Somebody else it maybe gives them the greatest pleasure to go grocery shopping in these times. If somebody says, “Oh could you please help me and go to the grocery store?” Or help me tend to my garden or to my cat or whatever it is that we can let somebody else do something good for us.

Host:   Right. So that is okay. And then it does a world of good for that other person because they feel like they're helping somebody.

Kora:   That’s right.

Host: So it’s kind of reciprocal. I love that. That's really good. So number four, make sure to set healthy physical, mental, and emotional boundaries. What do you mean by that?

Kora:   That’s the glass half full/half-empty. So we cannot function if we basically run on empty. If you wake up in the morning and run and run and run ‘till the midnight hour, you never take a break, you never ask for help, you never say no.

Host:   Right.

Kora:   Then you go to bed, you probably can't sleep. Then you get up in the morning and you start all over again. That leads to exhaustion, to compassion fatigue, to burnout, and to all kinds of psychosomatic challenges. That will happen. The body will say no, you cannot do that with me. The psyche will say, “No, sorry. I can't serve you.”

Host:   Yes, I'm done now. Thank you very much.

Kora:   Right, right. The body will stop us.

Host:   So it sounds like they're tied together. Get emotionally drained turns into becoming mentally drained turns into becoming physically drained. It sounds like they're kind of all tied together. Like you need to take care of all of them. Wow. Okay. That’s good. Okay number five, welcome help from your spiritual community. Tell us about that.

Kora:   That is very individual, very personal, and very intimate. Spiritual community—that does not necessarily have to be a church. It can be a group of people that come together. It can be a book club. It can be a knitting circle. It can be a circle that comes together and perhaps discusses life challenges. To have kindred spirits, like-minded individuals around that we can show up with this self that we are nurturing, that we are trying to give a voice to. To do that again in community makes it so much easier and there is a supportive factor built in.

Host:   Yeah, so that makes sense. In that spiritual community, that’s where also you can ask for help. You can feel comfortable in sharing things that may be bothering you or worrying you or you can share when you feel things aren’t going right. It’s that kind of community that will accept you talking like that and that can be very therapeutic.

Kora:   That’s right. That’s right. Sometimes you need somebody that simply listens to you and that you know understands you. They may not agree with you, but they do understand.

Host:   Right. That, in itself, can still be a benefit. So true.

Kora:   Absolutely.

Host:   So number six, practice self-soothing tactics such as prayer, meditation, listening to calming music, or even finding healthy distractions. You say even things like lighthearted movies or TV shows will work.

Kora: Oh absolutely Hallmark or Lifetime and all of those types of movies that from the first time you turn the TV on, you know the ending. Sometimes that’s all that you can take in. To just see something good that you don’t have to think.

Host:   Those tactics can give you an escape too.

Kora:   Right. Exactly, exactly.

Host:   Okay. Really good. Then number seven, try to eat healthfully, right. That certainly will make you feel better, but don’t beat yourself up if you indulge in the occasional comfort food.

Kora:   That’s right.

Host:   So I guess what you're saying is we all deserve a treat now and then. Is that right?

Kora:   Absolutely. If I see a box of candy, I always say I’ll take two. I've got two legs.

Host:   Right. That’s right.

Kora:   I think that’s, again, that’s bringing comfort to the self. And If we do that in moderation, it is actually healthy. It’s saying yes I like this candy or yes I like this ice cream at the moment, but it also holds in there the love and the non-judgement for self.

Host:   Right.

Kora:   Because if you go down and you say, “Oh, I shouldn’t eat this. And oh my gosh what did I do?” What it does is it plays the self-judgement. Then comes oh I don’t feel good and oh this wasn’t right. So it negates actually the candy or the ice cream bar. You know, so as long as it’s in moderation.

Host:  Right. In moderation.

Kora:   Yep.

Host:   Try to eat as healthy as you can. Now and again if you have a little treat, a little something, that can be part of putting yourself first. You know what? I'm going to enjoy this little piece of candy or whatever.

Kora:   Exactly. Even if it’s a steak. Like oh yeah. Wholeheartedly fully I am present to cut this steak or the burger or whatever as long as it’s in moderation and enjoyed.

Host:   Yes. The enjoyment part of it too should not be overlooked as well. So those are great. Seven easy and effective ways to practice self-love. Kora, these have been really fantastic. So one more question and thank you so much for your time. You’ve been very generous. So COVID-19, our healthcare workers are on the front lines of this thing. Do you have any advice for those caregivers who may find it difficult to care for themselves when they're just giving it all caring so much for others?

Kora: The suffering that we see because our healthcare workers every single day they come. They work for us in service of our wellbeing. So what I often recommend is before you go home, take a moment. Sit in your car, listen to the music, or go for a walk. Do something with the mask on, proper protection, and of course with the appropriate distancing. Go for a walk. Do something that has meaning to you, whatever that is, that allows you to again reconnect with your own heart, with your own needs. Then return back to home or to your apartment. This is not easy during this time because it’s so multifactorial of how to take care. Starting with a walk, finding the community that you may be able to talk to, to let your hair down so to speak. That you don’t have to put the nice face on and say everything is fine, but that you can actually speak from your heart. That’s another way to do it, to take care of yourself. ‘Cause we all are in this together. We all are here to support one another.

Host:   Perfect way to wrap this up. Kora, thank you so much for your seven steps. You're right. Now more than ever it’s important for all of us to take care of ourselves and cut ourselves some slack, especially during times like this. Kora, you’ve been very generous. Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

Kora:   Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me Bill. It was a pleasure. Thank you.

Host:   That’s Kora Schmid. For more information, please visit If you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and check out the full podcast library for topics of interest to you. This is the healing podcast brought to you by MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.