It’s a never ending journey of self discovery that we are both on, moving towards an understanding of what basic self care means to us.
Let’s be honest. We are all carers in some way. Family, friends, pets, communities, political or environmental movements. Yet sometimes I feel that caring for the other is more natural to us than caring for ourselves. How can we create balance, you and I, so that our care for ourselves can fuel our care for others?
I have my background and you have yours. I grew up in a house of carers, mostly medics, and learnt from an early age to be a carer myself, ,with two siblings with special needs. Yet this took a dramatic turn, when at 12 I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst and underwent surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy. At that age it was hard to process such an event yet it left many scars. I learnt what most 12 year olds might not yet know. Life is precious and I was going to life this one to the max.
I have my lived experience and stories, as have you. As soon as I could, I left this world of carers in search of adventure, travelling from country to country and enjoying so many experiences. I worked in social planning and learnt how to build better communities. Yet this life came to a halt when, at 30, I was diagnosed with a renal carcinoma and underwent surgery for a second time. This time, there was no going back.
I reached a point when I got a jolt and everything changed, and I’m guessing you have too. After my second illness, I studied and learn as much as I could, taking a variety of course in health and healing. Being practical in nature and with a great love of food, I settled into a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and got my chefs cert. For 10 years I ran a nutrition business, seeing clients and creating education programmes, yet I knew there was more. I was exhausted and burnt out caring for the needs of others. Had it all been in vein, when my own self care was somewhere down the bottom of my priority list?
The key themes in my life came back again and again, as I am sure they are for you. Something clicked after I moved to Kinsale and I really starting digging inwards. I went back to my childhood loves of dance and art. I danced in movement meditation classes and got back in touch with this body of mine, that had been a stranger for so long. I began taking night courses in art, which expanded into a Diploma and then a Degree in Art, and now a Masters in Art Therapy. Through these great loves of my life, I finally got underneath the concepts of health, self love and basic self care really means to me.
It’s a never ending journey that we are both on. I’ve built up a range of skills, tools and professional understanding to specialise in an area of health called ‘self care’, that is the most used term yet least used practise that my experience has shown me. That is why I’ve chosen to pursue basic self care for those who are recovering from illness, injury or trauma. I’m not a teacher, a guru or a saint, yet I can support anyone brave enough to create their own pathways to self care.