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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mirna van Wyk

I always read Mirna's column in the "FunkyMunky newsletter I receive every month from South Africa (it's on Google) - I have met the compiler who lives in Jozi (Johannesburg) and he is a retired Afrikaner who spends all his time travelling, and shares his photographs of all the National Parks he visits with us.

This is particularly interesting when "that woman" looks like she is going to become a millionnaire over her lack of care of "Baby P".

Mirna is an educational psychologist from Stellenbosch. She taught at several schools, amongst others Stellenbosch High School, Bloemhof Girls’ High and Jan Kriel School for learners with barriers to learning. She is a mother, loves art, the ocean and children. 

Care for the caregivers

Although I mainly work with children in my practice and within the educational system, it usually involves also consulting with their parents and or their teachers. And it is scary.

Many caregivers of children are not happy people, to put it mildly. Some of them feel devoid of energy to really engage with children in order to guide and raise them properly. At worst some of these “caregivers” are depressed or downright bullies. Which made me just ask the same rhetorical question that I have so often asked before: Who cares for the caregivers (in life)? Where do parents, teachers, nurses and social workers get their dynamos recharged so that they can guide and support the vulnerable with warmth and consistency?

Being in a care-giving profession myself I had to learn the hard way that one has to recharge and fill one’s inner tanks before one can share it with others effectively. If you are running on empty, there is only anger, irritation and short-sightedness left.

So how does one refill one’s tanks of patience, warmth and care? By being good to yourself, or allowing others to be good to you. 

The first step is to gauge your state of mind and to spend time to reflect on what is bothering you and how to change it. Some people do this in a warm bath, a long walk, tea with a friend, doing a craft or even in the gym. But at least these people are allowing themselves to stop and reflect on their state of life.

Allow and even force yourself to have fun in a constructive ways. Be with friends or family and have a hearty laugh. Too much drinking and gambling are not examples of positive fun, as sometimes they cause more harm than uplift you. When you laugh many dozens of positive enzymes and other chemicals flood your brain, to revitalize your emotionally and physically.

Get some exercise and sleep enough - or as I call it “oxygenate” regularly. Sleep is an important revitalizing stage in a humans day and without sufficient sleep people become ineffective and a danger to themselves and others. Each person has an ideal amount of hours which they need - you will know if you don’t get enough. Exercise is on so many levels good for you, that you must make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Exercise can be anything from a gentle walk to a tough work-out in the gym. Even gardening and washing the car will count.

Eat healthy food and drink enough water. One cannot run a car on Coke and hamburgers, neither can you run your very delicate system effectively with these junk food.
Look after yourself well - so we can look after each other better.

From my heart to yours.

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