I love working with carers. And carers of carers.
I love working with creativity, self-care, nourishment and sustenance.
So I sprang into the opportunity to offer an arty self-care presentation
as part of their ‘Revitalising the Carer Conversation’ forum.
Carers. I empathise. I am one.
There are a gazillion of us, quietly (or noisily) behind the scenes, holding it all together, not necessarily identifying ourselves as carers. We provide the stitching you don’t see. Many of us barely keep ourselves stitched together.
Some carers don’t let themselves remove focus from their caree for even a day. Or a few minutes.
Caring can be Wearing. The popular representation goes like this: ‘Caring is rewarding and can sometimes be challenging’. Shhh. Between you, me and the crumbly gatepost, try this: ‘Caring is challenging and can sometimes be rewarding’.
Here are some almost-stats. I know. Unusual for me to offer something numeric.
Carers provide many billions of dollars worth of unpaid labour in Australia.
Carers are the single most unhealthy segment of the population. I find this extraordinary. Really? Apparently so.
If I wore a hat, I’d take it off to those full-time live-in carers of a disabled son or daughter or a dementing spouse or an adult child living with psychosis. These folk live round the clock with their whole entire world revolving around the cared-for person.
I could go on.
Creativity at Your Fingertips
I facilitated the carers and carers-of-carers to engage in Sacred Scribble, play with colour and
allow their life force to flow – just for themselves.
I was delighted to support them
to even momentarily
be self-full (as opposed to selfish).
They were Carer Darers, daring to take a moment, then another moment. Purely for their own respite, reflection, replenishment, refreshment.
For those who feel guiltily terrified of taking their eyes off the bounding ball of the caree’s needs, a spot of creative self-care can be framed like this: you must give yourself downtime.
If you don’t look after you,
your mental and physical health will suffer
and you will be less able to care for
the person you care for.
Ain’t that the truth.
The wonderful SLHD Carers Program and other carer organisations want to reach carers before they burn out. Preventative strategies.
They have launched
a ‘Partners in Care’ approach.
That so appeals to me. The family/friend carer is in partnership with their caree. The carer is in partnership with the support services, nurses, social workers; whoever else is involved.
The Partnership focus helps. It’s a ‘we’, not an isolated, worn out, peripheralised ‘I’ of a lone carer.
Let’s revitalise the carer conversation.
Let’s bring nourishment, resourcing, creativity and even joy to the fabric and its stitches,
whether hidden or visible.
with love, art and soul
Would you like me to share a bit more
about each of the ten (fingertip)
easy-access satisfying art-play strategies?