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  • Writer's pictureDr Dermot Casey

Reverse Caring

Just care for yourself the same way that you would care for people that you love or the people that you care for, each day, in your work.

We are all carers in our own way. We care for our loved ones each day; this might include our children, partners, families and can even extend to friends and colleagues. We also might be professional carers, which means that we work with people to effect positive change in them. These types of jobs are numerous and can include nurses, teachers, psychologists, social workers, medical doctors, coaches and psychotherapists. So, when you look at your life there is a lot of caring going on and these care processes are well engrained in our daily lives.

And there is also the most important type of care and that is, of course, self-care. Then again, this type of care seems, for a lot of us, to always come last in our daily schedule/plan of action and thought.

I have been talking about this lack of care (self-care) for a while now to anyone that will listen (including myself), and I am sad to say that we adults, in particular, can find it very hard to adequately care for ourselves, on a daily basis, which is what is required.

Let me say immediately that I am not talking here about survival caring, which can include eating, hydration, sleeping, resting and might also include exercise and occasional visits to the dentist and medical doctor. We all do that, somewhat, otherwise you would not be reading this article today.

However, it is time to change the way we care for ourselves to meet our daily needs in this hectic, whirlwind-of-change world that we are all experiencing by just being part of, and existing in, the 21st century.

We all know how to care for ourselves in various ways.

Take regular exercise, eat well, and hydrate. It is also important to keep in contact with our friends.

And at times we all need to go and talk with a professional

Learn to love yourself

This for me is survival caring. However, I have come up with the term reverse caring as a way of describing what we all need to do as adults, in order to adequately care for ourselves each day.

Simply put, we need to reverse the well-engrained and practised processes of care for others that we all engage in each day. Just care for yourself in the same way that you care for others each day in your work or the people that you love in your personal life. Yes, you are one of the people that you need to love; it’s ok to say that you love yourself.

So, let’s say it: I Love Myself.

I am always reluctant, while working with a client or family, to tell people how specifically they need to care for themselves. Why? Because every person is so unique, and so are their care needs; they are all also different. Their context is in a constant state of flux, they have different software (personality) and they are engaged in a myriad of relationships that are totally different from any other person’s on this planet.

Usually what happens is that we jointly discuss what is going on for the client and they can determine what they need to change regarding their self-care.

However, when I suggest that we need to practice reverse caring, I mean there are some simple steps that we all can take, each day to get in contact with what our actual care needs are and to try our best to get some, if not all, of these needs met.

The key message here is that we need to start caring for ourselves as well as we care for others. Don’t we deserve the same? After all, if you don’t do it, it will not happen, as you are your primary carer.

If you like the concept of reverse caring it is something that is discussed in more detail in my upcoming book, yet to be published: Time To Change The Way That We Care. Any comments on the above please contact me today.

Thanks for reading

Dr Dermot Casey

Counselling Psychologist, Cork, Ireland.


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