Since my last blog, back in May, Chris and I have both experienced significant and life changing events. This has resulted in there being no Project Team Workshops for this second half of the year as well as a drought on blogs. As we adjust and continue to breathe through the changes which have come into our lives, I have been reflecting on how we ‘take care’ of ourselves when our role is to ‘take care’ of others. This is a lifelong learning for me, and recently I have been reminded and re-learned what the strategies are that keep me well and keep me on an even keel in life. It is important to remember that:

  • I cannot be all things to all people
  • I cannot be anything for other people if I cannot be what I need to be for myself
  • I must remember/know my own limitations
  • It is okay to take time if I cannot work
  • It is important to be kind and sensitive to myself

I wonder, reader, what strategies or mantras keep you on an even keel, and help to keep you well and passionate in your work?

My yoga teacher mentioned to me recently that any emotion or feeling only hangs around for 90 seconds; and what remains after 90 seconds is how we have chosen to respond to this feeling. This has been a vital learning as I have ridden the wave of emotions this year; feeling, noticing, acknowledging and then moving on. (Yes this does sound a little like mindfulness and ACT). This 90 second idea has now been added to my self-care kete and to be honest is the key strategy which has made it possible to be at work the past 6 months.

My experiences this year have also helped me to be further sensitive to my ‘supervisees’. I have always sought to support and encourage good self-care for those I work with in supervision, but having been driven to be more care-full of myself, has helped me to notice the ways I encourage those in supervision to do the same.

We have such a privileged and vital role to support those we work with in supervision to actively take care of themselves. The invitation for us as supervisors is to support rhythm in our ‘supervisees” lives and to be inviting them to be gentle and kind to themselves. We have a role to assist them to plan their self-care and then to be able to be flexible and responsive when live throws curve balls (which it will). And we have ethical responsibility to support them to know who or what are the supports in their corner when curve balls come.

Self-care is a way of life. It is not an umbrella we just get out when it rains but a planned approach for supporting our lives. And we need to model this and practice this as supervisors. We need to know the essentials of our self-care strategies, while also knowing what we can call on when we need to dig deeper during the storms that life can bring.

As we gallop towards the end of the year, I am tidying up a few tasks before taking a needed break to recharge and to come back with a re-focus for 2020. (hopefully with a finished and refurbished website and with a return of Project Team Workshops). Whatever 2020 will bring however, I know it will have to come with a prepared self-care and wellness LIFE strategy to support me to keep doing and enjoying what I do; and will include a healthy dose of realism I hope.

Take care of yourself over this summer/festive/Christmas season; enjoy being with those who are important to you; take some time to rest; and take a moment to reflect on what your care for yourself will look like next year. What is in your self-care tool kit? What strategies do you support and invite in dialogue with your supervisees? How do you invite gentleness and kindness in 2020?

Ngā mihi nui me te arohanui


One thought on “Self-care for the supervisor

  1. Good thoughts, Karen – sounds as if you and Chris have had a challenging year. I hope you both rest and become re-inspired through the holidays before beginning again in 2020….. 🙂

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