Let Go of Judgement and Be Gentle
As support people, professional helpers and activists, many of us set high bars for ourselves and others. It is also important to be gentle with yourself, and others, when it comes to practicing self-care.
Creating a Circle of Care
Creating a circle of care is listening to the needs of, and caring for, each other. It shifts the responsibility of care from the individual and centres the importance of caring for each other in community.
It means checking in with each other, asking what people need and respecting their answers, and creating spaces where we can heal collectively.
Some people are born into communities, with long-standing traditions, cultural practices and ceremonies. See Indigenous Perspectives for examples.
Many find community and support through their place of worship.
Some groups - such as people with disabilities, LGBTQIA2S+ people, people of colour, victims/survivors of sexual violence - find or create community. These communities, too, have rich histories, elders/forebearers, knowledge, and resources that may aid in your wellbeing.
Some examples of a circle of care include:
- Cooking a meal together or preparing and delivering a meal to a friend.
- Offering rides to and from work, meetings, and events.
- Driving someone to and from the grocery store.
- Helping with child-care.
- Accompanying a friend to the doctor, especially if they have had negative experiences with the health care system.
- Helping a friend or community member with a task that increases their anxiety.
When caring for each other, it is also important to maintain your own boundaries.
Circle of Care and Disability
Many of these things are necessary accommodations for people living with disabilities. This includes disabilities that you may not know about and/or that are are invisible, including chronic illness and pain; depression, anxiety and other challenges with mental health; neurodiverse people; and people with environmental illnesses.
People with disabilities, and disability justice activists, have and continue to lead the way in terms of circles of care.
Collective Action as Care
Engaging in community healing, advocacy, and/or social justice activism can also allow support people to act on their deeply held values as well as counter feelings of frustration, anger, powerlessness, and vicarious trauma.
Collective action and social movement building offer learning, growth and meaning-making that can build resilience, hope and belonging.
What are other ways that you create circles of care? What are the impacts for you and others? Add your thoughts to your notes using the button.
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