Friday, 4 May 2012

The Good Life kept Good

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

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