Looking after number one

A night of self-care, activism and compassion at the Burnout and Self-Care Workshop

Photo by Joe McCallion

On Tuesday of TCDSU Welfare’s Mental Health Week, DUGES, Envirosoc and DU Meditation hosted a “Burn-out and Self-Care Workshop”.

Before leaving the room, every student that took part in the workshop expressed his or her gratitude in having taken some time to reflect upon the important yet often neglected issue of self-care, to talk with friendly and benevolent fellows about personal experiences and to meditate in such a comfortable space.

The event was launched by Dublin University Gender Equality Society (DUGES)  chair, Ciara Hamilton, who reminded the audience that self-care was not only a personal matter but also a political question. In a society where being busy and competitive is commonly praised, it takes some courage to take it slow and to care for your personal comfort before thinking of your future CV.

This sentiment is particularly applicable to women who have traditionally been encouraged to care for others before caring for themselves.

During that brief introduction, newcomers continued to arrive from late lectures just in time for taking part in several activities related to the practice of self-care. We chatted a lot but every attendant was also invited to demonstrate on the blackboard how his or her time was divided between work, leisure and self-care.

It was very enlightening to be introduced to the idea that self-care is not only a general principle to keep in mind but also an actual activity that needs some time to be practiced. Most of the pie charts traced reflected that work was largely predominant in our lives, whereas it is recommended to split equally your time between the three range of actions.

Convinced that self-care is also a question of sustainability, the Envirosoc team then took over and made us think about how we could develop personal self-care strategies for ourselves. After discussing what warning signs can forebode burn-out and how personal relief and comfort can be found in various spheres of daily life, we were given a few minutes to list individually how our fatigue could manifest itself. We also considered what tasks and activities we can do or we would like to start doing in order to fare well on a daily basis.

The experience was worthwhile and if you could not make it to the workshop and are interested in finding some tangible ways to implement self-care, the results of the brainstorming session will be put on the facebook page of the event to further your own reflexion.

Last but not least, DU Meditation introduced the audience to “compassion meditation”. It began with talking to your direct neighbour about a dear friend (a really nice and soothing act!) and continued with a ten-minute session during which the loud music coming from the Atrium did not deter us from feeling relaxed and compassionate.

We left content, full of hope and feeling positive enough to make it safely through to the end of the term.