The Bank Holiday feels well deserved. It's been a while since Easter, and the weather seems to have barely changed since the middle of winter. It's cold and gloomy, and the un-Spring like conditions have been remarked upon in my consulting room countless times in recent weeks. The rain feels relentless and drizzle terribly dreary. I am beginning to sound terribly British, aren't I?
Rain didn't stop play earlier in the week, and I managed another medium length bicycle ride in Richmond Park. 40k or so, in slightly below average conditions. I like to think I go faster when my tyres are wet. Unfortunately, our company was distinctly enthusiastic, and there were some smart machines out there. A different crowd to the Sunday brunch bunch. These guys were serious. I saw their teeth.
Some of us don't seem to have an innate 'off' button. I know I tend to fidget. I'm restless, and am happiest when I'm busy, ticking things off a list. I'm a great 'do-er'. I get things done and it pleases me. But I have had to learn and then refine the skill of slowing down, and switching off. I need my energy and recognise its finitude. There are, of course, things I can do to replenish the reserves short-term, but there comes a time when I need to rest. I'm thankful for the reminders I get from my supervisor, a therapist with over a quarter of a century's experience, who asks me like a mantra "...and when's your next break?" I need to know the answer. It's important. I don't want to burn out.
Compassion fatigue is a well documented tragedy amongst our profession. I practice what I preach when it comes to self care, and seek to model my remedies. There is nothing like a live advertisement. I'm far from perfect, but life's taught me some valuable lessons including self preservation. In order to have anything worthwhile to offer those I work with, I have a responsibility to prioritise self care.
"The mark of a successful (wo)man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it."
"No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it."
Harry Emerson Fosdick