Healthy self-care and -love, front & centre!
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Many Gentle Readers know how important healthy self-care is as a central feature of my work. I think about this when researching end of life worker practices, I am writing a lot about this currently, and I advocate strongly for healthy self-care routines and ideas when posting on socials. So I was delighted to see that the first episode that came up for me on the new Queer Eye mini-season in Japan was about a palliative care nurse named Yoko who is living with several overlapping realities at once; all of these realities are taking a toll on her self-esteem and affecting her capacity for self-care and resilience.
Many of these realities are addressed directly, and I don't wish to spoil at this stage, HOWEVER!... I will say this: How many of these circumstances are we familiar with from our own end of life experiences (or those of people close to us)? Let's consider the broad themes explored in this episode and talk about why it is such a positive thing to see everything discussed on mainstream TV.
+ Yoko opened her home to dying patients because the experience of watching her sister's death in a hospital was such an awful experience for her. Her sister's death was not a 'good' one.
+ Yoko is middle-aged and does not meet Japan's patriarchal male gaze of beauty, therefore Yoko has adopted what is commonly known in Japan as the coping strategy "abandoned being a woman". Caught between love of her work and a passion to make a difference, Yoko herself has all but vanished - except when she's into Cosplay for the patients! Watch the episode, you will love this part.
+ Yoko has a desire to experience love, but everything put on the back burner while work is the sole priority in Yoko's life. Circle back to the abandon being a woman part discussed in the previous point, and it is plain to see that Yoko is trapped in a narrative of 'beauty' that is not of her own making, and does not reflect the reality of many people in Japanese culture.
I am loving this episode - I have stopped half-way through to put this short post out because I am so happy to see Yoko on screen. End of Life work is important, yes. However, healthy self-care and self-love (thank you Jonathan) is essential, arguably even more so when we put so much of our own time, energy, and care into those we work with as they journey to the end of their lives.
For all of you Gentle Readers out there who work in a caring, supportive role/job - and I truly hope it is a paid role because money helps us to stress less! - I invite you to take extra time out for yourselves this weekend. Watch Queer Eye, go for a walk, take a nap, unplug your phone, catch up with friends, spend some time in silence - it does not matter what the self-care time 'activity' is. The time is what matters. And we are all worth it. Take time to be kind to you today. If you are struggling to find a balance in your life, or if you feel overwhelmed by work stresses and the grief weight of your work please get in touch with me. I offer EFT and psychotherapy, as well as mentoring and listening for colleagues and peers - I have decades of experience and bring humour to my creative, personally-tailored solutions.
Let's talk - firstname.lastname@example.org