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7 months ago

MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2022

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Farewell Sue Shapland | Pain and pain management series: Part 5 | MSWA's Employment Support Service | Tips for staying motivated over winter


COUNSELLING “LOVE YOURSELF, LIKE KANYE LOVES KANYE” SIDRAH KHAN MSWA COUNSELLOR When I hear the words ‘self-care’, the person that first springs to mind is Kanye West! This rap artist and musical genius (apologies reader if you disagree) is known as the epitome of self-love, and self-care. I guess it helps when you have an entourage of people supporting everything you do. For the average Joe it can be harder to take care of yourself or have your own back when you’re smack bang in the middle of a life change or transition. In the past few years, we have experienced an incredible amount of collective change. Between COVID-19 lockdowns and changing isolation periods, to mask-on or mask-off mandates, and having different devices that we either must shove up our noses or spit into for a rapid antigen test. Maybe you have a loved one who was recently diagnosed with a neurological condition, or you yourself have had to change medications or doctors. Some of you may have had to say goodbye to old therapists, support staff, and say ‘hello’ to new ones. Depending on the circumstance, change can feel scary, and overwhelming. Being able to take care of you during these moments is crucial to navigating the tide. So how do you look after you, when the change around you doesn’t stop, or when you’re hit with unexpected news? For a lot of people, being able to go back to basics is important. Selfcare isn’t always about doing what’s ‘healthy’, instead self-care can be anything you need to do that reminds you of who you are and reconnecting with different parts of your identity. Maybe for you it’s the dancer in you, the wine enthusiast, the inner traveller, the diehard Star Trek nerd, the painter, or the garage sale enthusiast. When we think about self-care the question is not ‘what can I do to be healthy?’ But rather, ‘what can I do to show some love and attention to the part of myself that makes me feel like me?’ For some people this is as simple as turning on your favourite song, and dancing around the house pretending to be ‘Baby’ from Dirty Dancing, buying a coffee rather than making one at home, embracing your spontaneity and going for a walk in a different location, or saying yes to a movie marathon at midnight with no interruptions. Whatever it is, change is a constant, and being able to ground yourself in what nourishes you and reminds you of who you are, can make the ride a little easier to bear. So now it is your turn. What parts of you need attention this month? And what do you need to do to show some love to those parts of you? What does it mean for you to love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye? 22

THE GIFT OF PAUSING SANDY SUVERIJN MSWA COUNSELLOR Maybe you have taken a moment for self-care when you’ve felt tired, or have taken a day off during the week where you do something fun and feel rejuvenated. Have you tried creating a pause, a small mindful moment of rest in your busy day? Maybe you’ve heard of mindfulness or grounding techniques, or read about the research that suggests its role in helping to manage stress. Maybe you’ve even tried practicing mindfulness. We live in a fast-paced world, with many stressors, and sometimes we forget to check in with ourselves. A practice such as mindfulness can help slow us down, develop stability and focus some attention on ourselves. If we can pause and notice the flow of life as it is and let it come and go – just observing and noticing – this may assist with some of our responses. In times of distress we may be overthinking, feeling overwhelmed, or overreacting. A pause can help us to anchor ourselves and provide the needed space to calm our minds. We then can consider our choices before responding. Try to pause in your day, take a breath, acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Let them be, to observe, meeting the moment as it is. Be fully present, be aware of where you are, what you are doing without criticism or judgement. Be compassionate with yourself as the moment comes and goes. Try building into your day the habit of stopping. It may require you to practice the pause, to reconnect with yourself. If we practice it three or four times a day, it can help build the habit of slowing down. Small mindful habits that you can practice daily: / Holding a mug of tea in both hands and feeling its warmth. Do not rush drinking it, enjoy the aroma, take small sips and take your time tasting each mouthful. / Put on a piece of music and give it all your attention. Listen to the words and try to pick out all the different musical instruments that are being played. / Pat your pet. If you have a dog or a cat, or other furry friend, run your fingers through their fur. Feel their warmth and the softness of their coat. / Wherever you are – lying, sitting, or standing – feel what is under you, such as your feet on the floor or how your body is contacting the chair or bed. Take note to take slow deep breaths and relax your body into it. MSWA has a counselling service that can assist you with the many stresses of life and support you with the mindfulness and grounding techniques discussed in this article. To make an appointment please call 9365 4836. “Mindfulness is about training yourself to pay attention in a specific way. When a person is mindful, they: (1) focus on the present moment, (2) try not to think about anything that went on in the past or that might be coming up in future, (3) purposefully concentrate on what’s happening around them, [and] (4) try not to be judgemental about anything they notice, or label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’” (Moore, 2019). 23