Guest Post: Caring for yourself, an essential part of caring for others
I’m Jacqui O’Connor. I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 25 years, working with women and families and in psychosocial nurse management. Through lived experience, I’ve discovered the benefits of working with mindfulness and healing modalities and find joy in sharing the tools I’ve mastered with others.
My ultimate passion is to care for the Carer 💛 as these wonderful individuals are the people who deal with our most vulnerable citizens–our children, the sick, and the elderly. And I believe that with holistic support our carers will be better equipped to handle the demands of their vital roles.
And how much better would that be for both the Carer and the Recipient of their care?
What is Self-Compassion to Me?
As a highly sensitive empathic person I would delight in the attention and rush to rescue whenever there was a problem. I would downplay my own needs to give to others.
I have been able to shift my thinking that my sensitivities are my teachers. They are not something to fear. My body communicates with me when something is trapped, and my sensitivity is actually my source of power, creativity, intuition and empathy.
Now, when I feel a pain in my body, I know it is a reminder to express my creativity through baking, making, dancing, to connect with a loved one or to take a deep breath and relax. I have also learned to recognise that the way I relate to stress is aggravated, and controlled, by my thinking.
With awareness, breath work and a great deal of practice, I have started to harness my own power and control of my wellbeing.
When things feel overwhelming or don’t go my way, I can get upset. But I also don’t have to, it’s my choice. And that’s pretty amazing.
Since I’ve been practicing mindfulness and honouring my body instead of loathing it, I hardly get affected mentally or physically anymore. But if/when I do feel something physical or mentally flare up, I don’t hesitate to listen because I now know it’s leading me somewhere. Through this journey, I have come to be a proud, sensitive person.
Learning self compassion is an important element of growth for health professionals. When we are kind to ourselves, we tend to project much more warmth and understanding to others. And when we judge ourselves less harshly, we are less judgemental about the perceived failings of others.
When we bring compassionate mindfulness to the care of others, we create a space for healing. We also become more positive role models for those around us in encouraging a more holistic approach.
Learning self compassion has changed my life in so many potent and positive ways.
Jacqui is a COVID19 Healthline nurse during the pandemic, and a school nurse for a central Auckland High School for young women. Jacqui’s support can be accessed via EAP(Employee Assistance Programme) works on 0800SELFCARE (735343).
Jacqui also runs BeYOUtiful, a community to welcome BeYOUtiful young women to expand, explore & experience peace, mindfulness, patience, awareness & their authentic self. BeYOUtiful can be found on Instagram and Facebook 💜