I am drawn to write this blog about self-care and rest.  You don’t really need me to tell you that it has been a difficult two years in New Zealand, and while we may like to be optimistic, there are many indications that life may not get that much easier in the short term.  While lockdowns may now be a thing of the past, we are living the aftermath of two years of a worldwide pandemic and trying to bring some semblance of ‘order’ in a world with rising inflation, ridiculous living costs, a high profile war in Ukraine (to add to the mix of the rest of the lower profile conflicts occurring on our planet) and a volcano that is threatening to blow under the pressure.  Phew!  Yes we are still living in a place of potential parasympathetic overload. 

Those in the know may attest that our crime, domestic violence, depression, and suicide stats may continue to be testimony to the pressure from these contextual factors, as may the use of emergency housing and food bank services.  I certainly can attest to the consequences of these pressures in my supervision room.  People are still tired, feeling pressured and managing the balance of their clients’ needs/health, their colleagues’ health, and the health of themselves and whanau.  I don’t just mean a physical tired, although that is present, but I notice a deep, psychological, and emotional tired; tired of carry a heavy mental load in a constantly changing space for over two years.  While conversations in supervision can focus on the tiredness that people are feeling, the pressure does not ease from a supervision conversation alone, particularly when services are also struggling with staff off for Covid isolation, or with inadequate staffing in the first place due to workforce shortages.

So as we plunge headfirst into winter (despite the autumnal weather suggesting it may still be some time away), it may be time to think about what we are doing to care and nurture ourselves in this season.   I know each iwi and hapū will have their own traditions around Matariki (and its various other names it is known by for Tangata Whenua), but as we will be remembering Matariki this year officially as a nation with a public holiday, it also seems fitting to prepare the rising of Matariki in June by taking some rest as Matariki disappears from our skies to also take ‘rest’.  (My understanding is that astronomically Matariki disappears from our skies at some point in May before re-emerging in June).

So as Matariki takes rest from travelling the skies;

  • What will you do for yourself to cease your travel, your hurry, your rush?  
  • What will you do this May, to stop, to rest, to restore, to breath and to let go? 
  • What will you do for your Tinana (Body), your Wairua (Spirit/Mauri), your Hinengaro (Mind) and your Whanau (Family/connections)?
  • What conversation will you have with your own supervisor about this (to garner support or accountability)? 

Maybe your answers to these questions will be metaphorical, physical, actual, enacted individually, or collectively as a whanau or workspace?  What-ever your answers are, how will you consciously, purposely, and deliberately lighten some of your actual or perceived load, just for a moment this season, to restore yourself for the ‘New Year’ ahead? 

How can you breathe gently into the time ahead?  Even in a context that may not change, we can choose to find some space to rest and change despite our context.

I will be finding my best relaxing and restful space and deliberately spending some time there, to unwind and rest………til then…..

Mā te wa

Karen

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