Tender Loving Care

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In the quest to understand how we might ensure a good level of self-care, protecting ourselves from the perils of the oft quoted ‘ivory tower’ of academia, I lovingly interrogate some fellow creatives.

Multi-platform artist Graham Taylor; graphic designer and copywriter team Adam Mckillop and Stephanie Robertson; and self-care facilitator and author Fiona Robertson generously share their thoughts:

Graham, what do you do to take care of yourself?

‘Not much, I’m not very good at self care… maybe have a bath... read… play music… I’m not really very good at it, that’s why I went to counselling earlier this year…’

It dawns on us both that counselling is a form of self-care. Yay!

Next, I turn to the creatives behind 13Souls, Adam and Stephanie:

Adam, what do you think we do that shows self-care?

‘I’d definitely say grooming, from my point of view; shower, shave, do your hair, tidy your body up, tidy your brain up.’

Stephanie?

‘When you do something you truly want to do, maybe outside of your comfort zone. Saying to yourself—actually, I really want to do this, so I’m going to make time in my life, and invest in it financially.’

Adam, when do you think we’re lacking self care?

‘Social connections, not having connections on a daily basis—I can get really down. Working with nice people, collaborating on things, I find that really important.’    

What about you Stephanie?

‘One that’s sometimes overlooked in our society, I actually feel like caring for yourself financially is really important, having enough to meet your needs—saying, okay, I’m gonna save, budget, take care of my money—that feels really self-nurturing.’

And what can we do to take even better care of ourselves?

‘I think it’s nice to appreciate what self-care is for you, as opposed to what you think it ‘should’ be. What you connect with, rather than what society’s telling you.’

I then approach self-care facilitator Fiona Robertson, author of The Dark Night of the Soul: A Journey from Absence to Presence:

Fiona, what are your self-care practices?

‘I think for me it’s about giving myself regular time and space to come into myself and see what’s there. That might be twenty minutes on some days, an hour on others. I tend to write stuff down. Writing is a part of that practice. Coming to myself as I am in the moment and letting that unfold in some way. Music—listening to music. Being with people, both online and offline, who support that kind of self care, self reflection...who inquire or contemplate. Taking breaks sometimes. Going to places I like being. Being with myself. There’s a natural flow going on, asking myself, how am I actually right now? Can I let myself just be that? Letting ourselves be in any given moment, without a whole list of ‘shoulds’ can be very liberating. Giving ourselves breathing space. And a break.’

Mulling over these insights, soaking in a hot bath—a relaxing record playing in the background—simultaneously reading Romantic poetry whilst booking a counselling session, I consider investing in something a little out of the ordinary, perhaps a wilderness survival course—maybe even inviting a few pals for a back-to-nature getaway. Adding up all of the financial implications, whilst gazing up at the stars through the bathroom skylight, realising the unlimited nature of self-care...before deciding, that it might be time to take a break.

If you’re interested in self-care and would like to explore what the student support team have to offer, please visit https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/support>.

by A. R. Darling