It was 17 years ago that co-founders Dana Sturtevant and Hilary Kinavey met, not really knowing each other or much about the work they wanted to do beyond a deep craving for new language and a far more real and healing conversation about bodies, eating disorders, fatness and food.
The emotional and physical demands of caregiving, coupled with vicarious exposure to trauma, can strain even the most resilient person. This week, we thought we’d share some ideas for taking care of yourself while caring for others.
- Create community. Many providers crave space for open, honest, vulnerable conversations to know they are not alone. Seek the support of others who do similar work. Attend therapy, consultation or supervision. Become members of organizations and groups on social media whom you can reach out to for help when you need it.
- Stay connected to your body. Use breath awareness practices during your sessions to stay grounded in your body. Be aware of times you are mirroring your client’s body language and make adjustments as needed. Move your body in ways that connect you to pleasure and joy.
- Find moments of stillness. Take time to pause and drop into the present moment. Many helping professionals say a regular yoga and/or meditation practice is helpful. We are big fans of restorative yoga and yoga nidra.
- Use your voice. Talk about the hard stuff. Journal about it. Get it up and out of you. Lend your voice to causes important to you. All oppression is connected. Name your pain.
- Maintain your connection to body trust. Regularly check in with yourself to be aware of how you are doing with basic self-care practices (food, water, sleep) and your attunement to hunger and fullness cues.
- Look with kindness and curiosity. The day curiosity and self-compassion go out the window is the day your work becomes hard to tolerate.
- Keep learning. Be a student of your habits. Attend conferences and retreats to help you continue to grow and un-learn. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
- Develop ways to release what you are holding. Writing and speaking, creative arts, and expressive practices will help things move through you.
- Set boundaries. Celebrate your yes’s and honor your no’s. Learn what’s yours and what isn’t yours. Have the difficult conversations as soon as possible. End your sessions on time, schedule in breaks and time to yourself. Have boundaries around work hours and email.
- Cultivate practices that help you clear energy and stay grounded. Schedule regular body work (massage, acupuncture, reiki). When you feel like there is too much sadness, anger, or trauma for you to hold, grab a stone/crystal and visualize it holding the pain for you. Open the window at the end of the day. Try essential oils or sprays. Make a ritual out of your transition between work and home life.
If you are feeling the “collective pain” in the world right now, we loved the strategies Danielle LaPorte recently shared in this beautiful piece.
Sending warmth and light your way.
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