Many of you will be old hands at school entry as you have progressed with your children through starting nursery, primary school (and possibly junior school), secondary school and on to college and university or apprenticeships, plus maybe your own personal experience of going to school. I seem to remember that everyone I knew as a child (except those who went to private or faith schools) just went to the local school. We moved house quite a lot as I grew up so I started a lot of schools but I always just went to the local primary school or comp.
That saying stuck with me when I began therapy with my children, my importance as Mum could not be emphasised enough. The therapist kept saying it – “it is so important to keep you well so you can look after your children, not just now while they have therapy, but always”.
I know many of you who receive my newsletters are not parents or have children who have flown the nest. Many of my newsletter are now about parenting and teenagers. I still like to send out my newsletters in case you know someone or can forward the email on to someone else. However, if they seem no longer relevant to you, I won’t be offended if you want to unsubscribe. I will continue to blog about other areas, I am very interested in trauma and it’s impact and will be blogging about that from time to time. Anyway I hope this is of interest – The Importance of ‘me time’ which everyone needs:
It comes at us from all angles, the importance of taking time out, getting a break, having a change, and I think in our heart of hearts we know it’s true. It seems to me the people who need the break most are maybe the least likely to take the time as we are the busiest and are relied upon the most.
When was the last time you took a complete break away from family life on your own? I have to hold my hand up, prior to last year I had never had a break on my own (above about 90 minutes at yoga or while the kids were at the park with Dad) until I decided enough was enough and I went on a rural crafts retreat. I completely flopped, didn’t take any note of the time, did as I was asked and took no initiative of my own, left my tent door open so all my stuff got wet in the rain, sat by the camp fire and drank home made damson alcohol (of some description) and totally loved it, I returned home to relative calm with bag full of crafty items to show my children. Nothing was going to stop me now, I vowed to get away alone once a year (at least) from now on. I kept my promise and a month ago I went away on a yoga retreat and again enjoyed the experience, only thinking of myself, going along to everything that was offered and getting as much as I could from it.
For me that’s the most enjoyable and invigorating bit, only having to think of myself, to let others take care of the time, as a parent everything is rush, rush, rush – school, cubs, choir, brownies, make the tea, do the washing etc etc etc.
I feel it’s really important to look after parents (and maybe particularly Mums) we are the lynch pin, we make things happen, we are the glue in the family, we coordinate, organise and get the job done (rightly or wrongly).
So I came up with an idea to do something, create a ‘me time’ retreat somewhere nice and quiet away from it all for a few hours. I’ve found a quiet location in the lovely loft room at Millfield Fitness a lovely room where you can feel away from it, just a few miles from home. It’s no more than you deserve.
It was important to me to ask locally based practitioners to help run the event who realise the importance of looking after yourself so you can carry on with your life.
So the date is set for Sunday 15th May, 2pm – 5:30pm at Millfield Fitness (link below). We shall enjoy yoga, massage, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, locally sourced drinks and treats. I will update the Facebook event as the finer details emerge.
It’s open to all parents who need a break, there are only 6 spaces available. There is an early bird rate of £54.99 (until 15th April) then it will be £69.99 after that. (More than £80 if these sessions were taken separately). If you want to avoid the eventbrite fees, ask for my bank or paypal details to pay direct, also if you want to pay in instalments let me know.
All that’s left for me to say now is – hope to see or hear from y
P.S I would love to run an overnight retreat one day……
P.P.S Don’t forget the next Parent Social on Thursday 24th March at Love to Eat in Dringhouses – 9:30-11am.
I know first hand, what it feels like, the feelings, the body sensations, the way it creeps up on you like a slowly emerging virus, the knockout.
What is secondary trauma?
Sometimes it’s called vicarious trauma, I think they are pretty similar. Simply put, if you spend a lot of time with a person or people who have experienced significant trauma you may have experienced it either knowingly or unknowingly. If you look it up on the web, there are surprisingly few references and when it is referenced, it cites social workers, therapists etc, very little reference is made to parents or foster carers experiencing it. Also many of the definitions are ‘you experience it if you hear of someone else’s trauma’. There is more to it than that, I experience it as I live with 2 children who have experienced significant trauma (they are adopted from a very tricky start in life) and when things are bad or certain times of the year approach, I begin to feel unwell, they have not spoken of trauma.
It is said that sometimes the symptoms ‘mimic’ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but I’m not sure about that.
It’s the same every time, I always think I am getting a cold or virus. I feel drained, tired and have an awful headache. I start to suspect it is something else when a big dose of paracetamol is ineffective. I am very sensitive to noise (sometimes I have to stop to cover my ears), I think I hear footsteps or noises, I feel pulses in my head which are painful and make me wince.
How do I help myself?
The only ways I have found to help myself are to sleep (a lot), take long hot baths, go out on a bike ride, try and take some time out from the people with the trauma, which isn’t always easy when it is your children. When things were a lot worse (while my children were in therapy) I had regular massages, went to yoga, had counselling etc etc.
It used to totally wipe me out like flu, days spent in bed. However, now I know the signs and can check in with my children, I spot and try and deal with it, although I have to ride it out like a virus.
Why am I telling you this?
These sorts of things are not often openly spoken about, not identified, people are fearful to reveal this or have no idea what the symptoms they are experiencing are. I suspect many people who experience secondary trauma feel differently.
I hope it helps to know this.
Anyone that follows me on Facebook or twitter (or gets my emails) will know I talk a lot about supporting parents, especially those who have a lot going on whether that be step/adoptive parenting, parents of those with children with additional needs, families where there is ill health or mental health issues, parents who want support with school issues, bullying etc. It’s a passion of mine, not so long ago when my adopted children arrived in our lives, it was the biggest bombshell. I met some great, supportive people on the way but for a time (and since) I felt isolated. I wasn’t sure where to turn or who to ask for help, I did start asking eventually but it took a while. I suppose what I am saying is that I am a person that parents can turn to for counselling or support.
I do still work with lots of other types of issues and people too.
How can I help?
I know many of you are already aware I offer short and long term counselling be that weekly, fortnightly or monthly to support you.
So what’s new?
I have just launched my teen series workshops for parents of teens and pre-teens to support you with your children but mainly to support you. There is a series of 3 workshops which you can attend, 1, 2 or 3 of them. There are more details on my website and FB page (links at the bottom of the email).
– Entering the Teen Years
– Teens & Learning
– Teens & Stress
Last November I launched my Parent Social at Pure Zest in Fulford, York which is going really well, this is an evening event usually on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, the next one is 9th Feb. After getting some feedback, a few people said they could not make evenings so I set up a daytime social as well, this is going to be the last Thursday of the month, at Love to Eat in Dringhouses, York. This launches on Thursday 25th February 9:30-11:30. Each of the meetings has a theme where we discuss family issues or hot topics affecting us.
At the evening social on 9th Feb we are looking at Social Media & Gaming and the impact on us and our children. The daytime social will be looking at building self confidence in our teens & tweens and also a special guest, Claire Davies the Greedy Wordsmith who will be chatting about recipes for us and our tweens & teens to cook.
So, quite a lot going on and lots of ways parents can get help. (Forward this email on if you know someone who would be interested, thanks)
Get in touch with any comments or questions.