Monday, 25 February 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On (Self-Managing)

Being an Expert Patient Programme tutor is a pleasure and a privilege. It is a fundamental part of my own self-management - it gives me purpose and keeps me going. It is fantastic and moving to see people change for the better and their world open up to possibilities. I got an enormous amount out of the course when I did it, but when I recently finished a course, I found myself feeling very envious of the participants. They left on week six with such a moving wealth of optimism, hope and every thing else that comes with a fresh start and new leaf. Why was I envious?



I missed that optimism and overwhelming positivity in myself. Over a year since I since I did the course, I still implement it on a daily basis, but maintaining this lifestyle is far from easy and they were blissful unaware of that, wrapped up in the joy of the honeymoon period of their lifelong relationship with self-management.

I was feeling quite daunted by the prospect of finding the motivation to keep all this self-management up for the foreseeable future - the reality of self-management is that it is really beneficial but ongoing and not always easy! But I felt reassured by one of the South West Self-Management Support newsletters (a Canadian organisation, but with a great newsletter), which had the following quote:

"Maintenance is the hardest step in the Stages of Change Model…It is where the highest risk of relapse occurs. Look for and celebrate a small success with a patient today."

It reminded me that like Jeff Foster says about acceptance in The Deepest Acceptance, "acceptance is not a time-bound achievement, but a never ending present moment reality", self-management is a process and a change and therefore all the ups and downs of the change curve really apply even now, a year later - I am still changing!

Another quote I came across (randomly on the back of a sustainable NHS booklet) that sums my feelings up is this one:
"The challenge is not starting, but continuing after the initial enthusiasm has gone."
Ovretveit (2003)

But the most helpful thing for me when I find myself despairing about 'keeping calm and carrying on' forever and a day with the hardest job in the world, being an active and effective self-manager, is the EPP participants themselves. Their hope, optimism and enthusiasm is contagious and gives me a boost when I most need it! Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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