Tag Archives: self care

Self-care: A challenge

We love hearing from you – the community – about ideas you might have to connect and take care of each other.
In the past we supported Family of Five with a photo a day challenge, and we’re proud to have promoted another recent happiness challenge – #TakingCare100. Then back in November last year we supported #HowAreYou, a great hashtag initiative on Twitter developed by @adopting and @take2mums.


Now, we’re pleased to bring you another challenge, again from one of our amazing community – this one is from MyBrownEyedBoys. Here’s her challenge to you:

I have suffered from bouts of anxiety at all stressful times of my life so no surprise that having 3 adopted boys brings plenty of anxious times. About  2 years ago I was referred again to a therapist for anxiety but this time I didn’t want to talk endlessly about my problems. No, this time I wanted to work out how change my reaction. I cannot avoid anxious times completely but I figured, I needed to avoid reacting in the same old way to the stress.

Amongst other good advice (about avoiding trying to rescue everyone in my life) she challenged me to give myself a  treat every day.
Not so difficult you might think but, given that international holidays are not possible, finding a small luxury proved difficult. She advised me not to resort to food or alcohol too often so it was not as easy as it sounds. However, after a while I got the hang of setting aside half an hour to watch a TV programme or listen to the radio or to stop for a chat after my yoga class. These may be every day things  but time for ourselves can elude most of us in our chaotic households.
Put yourself first for 30 minutes per day, every day and feel the benefit.

So that is my challenge to you – treat your self in a small way each and every day and when you have mastered that encourage your family to do the same for you. Good Luck!

What a great idea hey? So we’d love for you to share your #metimetreats – photos, descriptions, one-liners, let us know how you’re looking after yourself.

Course review – Caring for Others, Caring for Ourselves

Today’s review is of a bespoke course for a local authority, delivered by Kate Cairns – our very own Vicki, also of The Boy’s Behaviour attended and this is what she thought…

Since The Open Nest’s #Taking Care conference in October, there has been an emphasis on self care in many of the social media channels that I use as an adoptive mum. This is great and shows that we are beginning to believe that looking after ourselves is key to parenting our children as best we can. It’s wonderful and encouraging to see the photos, and hear the ways in which adoptive parents are taking time to care for themselves.

I was thrilled to be offered a free place on ‘Caring for Others, Caring for Ourselves’, a short course that aimed to provide an understanding of ‘Secondary Trauma’, and would be delivered by none other than Kate Cairns – formerly of BAAF, and well known author.

Surrounded by 6 other adoptive parents and 33 foster carers, I attended the course, led by Kate and her husband and immediately felt like this was someone who truly understood. Kate and Brian have parented a number of children and have experienced pretty much every behaviour and challenge that you would expect to have. And beyond that, Kate herself developed secondary trauma – although of course at the time, couldn’t see that.

The course whizzed by, but Kate gave enough information on each short section to ensure that an understanding was gained. There were plentiful opportunities throughout the day to ask questions and clarify any issues.

So we covered trauma, toxic stress and the nervous system.
We used our hands to see exactly what it looks like when the connections between our frontal cortex and the rest of our brain are broken – flipping one’s lid. (Based on a hand model by Dan Siegel).
We thought about survival versus safety, escalation and de-escalation, and something called Five to Thrive – respond, cuddle, relax, play and talk.
And then we looked at the impact of trauma, recovery and resilience and secondary trauma.

I found it interesting to thinking about secondary trauma in terms of my support network – it doesn’t just affect my husband and I, or ever our wider family network, but can also affect teachers, doctors, therapists and social workers, each of whom generally work in those fields because they have compassion and they care. When they seemingly don’t care and lose that compassion, it’s not necessarily because they’re working against you (although it often feels like that) but it could be because they are suffering from secondary trauma too, and they just can’t see it.

The day ended by talking about training, support, therapy and self-care, and confirmed everything I know about looking after myself. I found Kate’s term PIES a good way to think about self-care: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual factors all play a part in personal resilience.

I found this short course so useful and informative. I met other adoptive parents in my area, I chatted to foster carers about their expectations and experiences, I talked to Kate Cairns about The Adoption Social, and I know have access through Kate Cairns Associates to connected learning opportunities, including an online learning module on Secondary Trauma. If your local authority can commission a similar course then I’d highly recommend attending.