Posted by: soulshinemoments | September 5, 2013

Self-love

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Self-care is beaten to death in my MSW program.

How can you take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself?

It is kind of funny, too, because we social workers in training also use it as a legitimate excuse whenever we feel like slacking.

I should be writing that 15 page paper right now, but Modern Family is on right now and I have only seen this episode once before. Oh, well. I will watch it, cause, like, it’s self-care time, dude.

or

Oh, my damn, I’m going to be late to class today. Hm, on second thought, let me call Rinny and see if she wants to skip class altogether and go to lunch. We need to eat a nutritious lunch. You know, man. It’s self-care.

We may, at times, take advantage of this philosophy just a wee bit. However, it truly is incredibly important. I use to feel so guilty doing things for myself. When I was a teenager, I would especially feel really guilty doing things for myself. Even though I worked a part-time job at sixteen, I hardly ever spent money on myself. No clothes, no make-up, no nails, no hair appointments. I would mostly save my money or pay bills. Responsible, yes. But, hoarding money, I have since learned, is just as maladjusted as over-spending. I know I learned this characteristic from my mom. I can’t remember her hardly every spending money on herself. She was really good at taking care of us in a lot of ways, and was the complete opposite of materialistic. I believe that there is too much materialism and self-indulgence in our society and I am thankful she was more likely to hug me or spend time with me than buy me junk. But, I also think it is important to learn to take good care of yourself, so I am learning.

I make mention of this right now because I “indulged” in some self-care today and got my nails done! The first time I got my nails done, I was 26 years old. I don’t do it often, but felt like it was something I should do for myself today after my internship. And, guess what, I’m glad I did.:-)

What are some other self-care ideas? Massages, exercise, hair appointments, spending time with friends and family, time in nature, painting–does anyone have any other good ideas? What do you do for self-care?

My supervisor and I met with a family today for nearly three hours. They were three sister’s whose mom has Pick’s disease, ( “Pick’s disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms include loss of speech (aphasia) and dementia. While some of the symptoms can initially be alleviated, the disease progresses and patients often die within two to ten years.”[wikipedia] The three sisters were very involved with their mother’s health care and supporting and loving toward each other (which unfortunately is kind of rare when a patient is passing away). They asked to meet with the social worker to make a decision on a funeral home and to simply debrief with her.

When we walked in the patient’s room, I noticed right away that it was personal and nicely decorated. Little touches really change the entire environment of the nursing home patients. Portraits of their mother were hung when she was 18–black and white and elegant. Pictures of the family. Collages with marker drawn mustaches on the faces, added playfully by the patient’s great-grandson. The girls were full of laughter, emotion, and adoration toward their mother.

They shared their experiences when they realized something was initially wrong with their mother. She had given one of the girls a gigantic stack of bills and said, “Do something with these. I don’t know what I am supposed to do with them.” The bills had been piling up for months.

They shared stories of when their mother really started digressing, running half-naked in her neighborhood at two in the morning. After enough times of this happening, the ladies finally decided that they couldn’t do it by themselves anymore and admitted her to the nursing home.

“Now we can laugh about these stories, but at the time, it was really frightening.”

My supervisor was amazing at handling these women in an unofficial “group therapy” type setting. They started the session with tears and fears and ended with hope and laughter. My supervisor knew the exact questions to ask, how to find the positive in their situation, how to read their body language. I sat in silence for most of the meeting, impressed by my supervisor.

Being an intern is challenging. I feel like a little kid sometimes. I shadow my supervisor, observing, taking everything in, but silently beating myself up for not contributing more. I desire to contribute, to learn, to grow, but my lack of experience silences me. My supervisor says my confidence will come. But should I be doing, saying, contributing more, taking more risks? I’m just not sure, yet! All I offer now is a smile and a gentle touch to the patient and my intention of love, compassion, and gentleness.

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Responses

  1. What a beautiful post- you touch on the light and heavy side of heartfelt topics. My heart goes out to the three sisters and their mom, and I definitely think you deserve another manicure sometime soon. Or maybe a massage??

    • I already have a massage lined up for the end of the month! πŸ˜‰ Thank you for your kind words. I feel blessed in being able to work with and witness these patients. xo


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