Thursday, February 11, 2010

Self Care

Before I first started working at Harry's Mother, my first social-work job, one of the questions in the interview was, "How do you take care of yourself?" I'd never been asked that before, and I was young and hadn't really thought about how the environment and the people around me could affect my emotional state. So I pulled my answer out of the air: "Spend time with friends and talk; eat; read books; and get enough sleep." My prospective boss didn't correct my answer - in fact, she probably wanted me to think about it ahead of time, rather than there being a right answer, and this is what I've been using as my standard prescription for self-care, when asked.

Over the last couple of days I have been having experiences that have made me aware that I don't do good self care when I'm in the moment. I am getting better about just removing myself from the situation where people around me are irritating me at work, whether it's their fault or mine. I find work to do in the back room if it's a client, or I walk out the door and either walk up the street or hang out in the back lot if it's a volunteer.

What I don't do well is think about how I can make a bad situation better for myself if I can't remove myself, or, which happens more often, I forget that I can. This usually happens when I feel like I am in charge. I usually forget that I can often turn things over to someone else. Last night I didn't think I would be able to effectively facilitate the group, and it never occurred to me to call another facilitator and ask if she was available to come and do it instead. Though this is probably because my experience is that I'm the only one who says "yes" to last minute substitutions, which in itself is something for me to think about.

Maybe now that I recognize this I will be able to catch myself in it, though honestly I doubt it, mostly because I think I've realized this before - it feels very familiar.

I have definitely been having "Always Learning" experiences this week. Sigh.

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