Thursday, May 28, 2015

Caring for the Carer – Making Care Sustainable

PATRONAGE is a role that has its nexus in the moment that a person or a couple or a group feels more than adequately cared for. It’s a moment. It’s a moment because people are prone to shift from a state of wellbeing into a state of need without much warning, and quite unexpectedly. But that is the nature of someone needing care. Most people needing such care need it intermittently, for a season. They are not characterised in being overly needy; unless it pertains to caring for an elderly parent or grandparent, or a relative with a disability. This article is aimed primarily at the care of only emotional and spiritual needs.
If we are in a situation of helping a person, or we help people, more generally, we will need to attend to our own care needs — if we wish that our care might be available for those who need it when they need it.
‘Caring for the carer’ can become a rather tired and worn out cliché. But it is healthy licence for some freedom related to contemplation, retreat, rejuvenation, and replenishment.
Finding what works for you and finding the time to get what you need; these are the concurrent challenges that are faced. We then also need to ensure we take the time when the time arrives. Too many of us have worked through a window of opportunity — usually for good intents — only to find we used the time we should have taken.
How we use the time is important. Some of us enjoy ‘downloading’ with others, relationally. Others will choose a good book. Others, again, choose to get some quiet time alone in nature. Especially supercharged people will want to balance the needs of other family.
The important thing is noting the moment that you feel free. It might only be five minutes. Sometimes we spend hours getting to that blissful five minute period — the climax to reach. Strangely enough, even five minutes of breathing normally can inspire a great deal of empowerment for the next interaction of care. Even better if we can replicate this each day.
Such a time of spiritual bliss, where the emotions are lifted into a smiling ether, is palpable, if such a time is repeatable.
Feeling enabled to retreat and having the capacity to reflect are what all carers need.
Our ability to help others is compromised if we don’t learn to help ourselves.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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