At the end of my trip to Ireland and Scotland last month,
I was honored to be a guest lecturer at Limerick Institute of Technology's Social Care program. More than a year ago, through the magic of the internet, I was invited by Professor Jennifer Moran Stritch, who teaches in the program. Even though public speaking is a total challenge for me, I was thrilled to share on a topic that is very dear to me (thank you, Jennifer).
Below is a snippet of my favorite part of what I shared with the amazing students there.
Oh yes. I’m looking right at you, my dear. As helpers, we like to help. This lovely part of us can actually be the very thing that buries us deep with obligations to help with people, tasks and events that can fill every empty space on our calendar. It can also make our eyes crossed with resentment because we have no time to ourselves. Or it can take up so much time that we don't have to deal with our own stuff.
Saying no is a practice … not a perfect. It may go against every fiber of your being to say no to someone who needs you, but it’s something you must practice if staying on the frontlines over the long haul is what you want. (If you have trouble with saying no, and there may be many reasons for this, I can help).
Do something that you makes you forget about your iPhone, computer, other people and worries. For me, it's going for a hike in the woods with my dog or making art in my studio. Hours go by and my mind empties out. Benefits of being present = exponential.
When I graduated from my masters program and began to sit with clients in pain every day, I was shocked by how little I learned in my program about how to really help them. This was a stressful realization.
Although this began long before on my own healing journey, I started learning different healing modalities. I became certified in EMDR, got a post-grad certificate in the effects of trauma across the lifespan and PTSD, attended art therapy conferences, became a Reiki Master and learned about the healing power of flower essences ... just to name a few.
Be with People you Love and who Love You
This may be a no-brainer for some of you. Doing this helps us take off our helper hats. It helps us remember who we are and our place in the world. It allows us to be human ... to laugh and have fun ... to make mistakes ... to be known deeply for who we are beyond our roles as helpers.
If you find yourself burning out or in need of more support, get help. Being on the frontlines helping others is hard work. It takes a toll physically, emotionally and energetically. If you feel a spark as you read this, follow it.
Need help with any of these? Get in touch.