Self care…look after yourself!

Middle Class parents in the 1980s thought Grange Hill would be a bad influence on their kids. It wasn’t. Tucker Jenkins and his mates were the only kids in Britain who never actually swore. Name me a more famous sausage!

You can watch Sky TV in every room in our house.

We have The Full Package, including all the kids stuff, Sky Atlantic, Cinema and Sport.

I think we found a way of hiding ‘the grown up channels’, and have Sky Shield to help protect us from any more of that sort of mischief. 

But apart from that, there’s nothing we can’t watch.

We have BT sports, for the Champions League, Bundesliga and some sort of erotic tickling that happens in a cage.

I think it’s called UFC or MMA.

We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney+.

My iPad and phone has the Sky Sports Go App and the BT Sports App.

I also use my devices to watch the cricket when it’s on Channel 4.

We briefly had what is known locally as a ‘Jaarg Box’, a small device that ‘legitimately’ allowed us to access every TV network in the world.

We decided that whilst not technically illegal, this couldn’t possibly be right so we ditched it.

The picture quality was generally crap too.

All this means, that for just several hundred pounds per month, I can go anywhere I want, and still watch sport.

All sport, and any sport.

To some people, particularly if you’re Middle Class and weren’t allowed to watch Grange Hill as a kid, this will seem extravagantly indulgent and reflect some sort of moral failing on our part.

In Fostering and Adoption, it’s called ‘self care’, and the quicker you find out what works for you the better.

My wife likes reading Maeve Binchy books.

Hiding in the toilet to watch 10 minutes of Test Cricket, or even the IPL, can mean the difference between ‘keeping it together’ and walking away.

Should you be in a plane that is crashing, you, the adult, should put your oxygen mask on before you attend to a child. It is sort of counterintuitive but makes sense.

Be under absolutely no illusion that caring for traumatised children is easy. You will be tested and challenged and provoked. You will meet what appears to be the most illogical of behaviours as a child destroys their possessions, hurts them self or hurts you. This destruction may be verbal or physical, but is almost certainly inevitable.

You have to find a way of looking after yourself .

If you do not, you will at best give up, or at worst retaliate.

Whether it’s TV, reading, making and drinking a cup of tea or eating a large piece of chocolate cake, you need to find what calms you down, restores your soul, and refills your tank. Other metaphors are available. I’d avoid alcohol or anything else deemed ‘recreational’.

And rather like a super fast charger, you need to find something that works quickly. Trauma does not work 9-5, Monday to Friday with 20 days of annual leave.

You have to learn to grab minutes or seconds of ‘self care’ whenever they present themselves.

The Foster Carer or Adopter equivalent of a two week cruise is sitting on the wall outside, and having a ‘quiet stare’, or just having a cry in the toilet.

I have learnt to regulate my heart rate when my adrenaline is sky high. In my imagination, I visit historical battlefields and reenact The Battle of a Waterloo. Imagining a violent battle has become a displacement activity for the violence we have occasionally experienced in our home.

This might not work for you, but please find something that does.

I also try to remember that I didn’t cause the trauma.

If I’d been in charge at The Battle of Waterloo, I’d have kept The Scott’s Greys in reserve, glorious though their charge against The Polish Lancers was. This somewhat irrelevant fantasy helps refresh my mind.

Secondary Trauma, PTSD and generally exhaustion are real.

Writing these blogs helps me.

If they help you, that’s just an added bonus.

Published by

fosteringandadoptionwithphil

Birth parent, Foster Carer, Adopter and Recruiter of Foster Carers for Liverpool City Council

5 thoughts on “Self care…look after yourself!”

  1. This is by far the best advice you give to anyone contemplating becoming a Foster carer Phil – occasionally I get complacent and forget about the self care, but I always come back to it, always need it and always feel better for it. For me it can be a walk round the block or watching Escape to the Chateau, for Peter it will be building something out of wood or watching Brian Cox’s Universe or some footie. Find your self care therapy! ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love Reading your blog, they always make sense and are relatable.
    I have a little sideline business that is my go to to chill out and regroup. Having that separation space is s massive help for my own sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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