The True Support of Hospital Care coming from Self Care

Recently I received an email regarding a self care event taking place locally to where I live. On reading through the flyer I realised how this is such an important area of our lives that for myself did not truly figure in my life until recently. Yes it did in a functional way as in I bathed, clothed and nourished myself daily but more because this is what I’m expected to do, to get me through the day. It wasn’t coming from self-responsibility or with a sense of worth, true support or care for myself.

This self care event helped me reflect on how the choice to provide true support, and really care for myself in a way I haven’t previously, was part of why I had an amazing stay in hospital recently. I was in hospital for major surgery and every moment of my stay was met with care from everyone involved and flowed smoothly with ease. There is no person or part of it I would change.

On the day I was leaving hospital I met another lady on the same ward as me. I was expressing how amazing the staff had been and the high level of care I had received. However, her experience had not been the same. She spoke briefly of certain nurses and the events. I came away considering how could this be when we were in the same ward, with the same length of stay so therefore with the same team of medical staff. The only variable is the recipient of the health care was me and her.

When I look at this now, I can see that yes I had a huge part to play in the high level of hospital care I received because that is what my body and I were putting out to receive.

Could it be that how I cared for myself before going into hospital meant this way of being continued once I was there? Could it be I have a part to play in the quality of care I will receive from another?

I have had numerous visits to the hospital over the past 5 years and the hospital care and understanding has been amazing as well as learning much about how the National Health Service system works. I have learnt I have as much responsibility for my health and well being as the care they offer, therefore I have chosen to take an active role in the process by constantly asking questions. I have found this approach means I feel listened to and any concerns I have had are met with understanding. The doctors and nurses from my experience treat me with respect and I feel empowered. All along I have felt it is important to know what is happening at each point and to give myself time to make these important decisions. However this stay was even greater in care and until now, I haven’t considered how this could be?

In the past I have put plans into place but approached it from a need to ‘just get me through’ what was happening. This time though, I chose to feel in my body how I could truly support myself. These plans were coming from ‘a care for myself and not wanting it to be any other way’. This meant that all the details had to be looked at and this felt natural and effortless.

How did this approach to my own self care look?

  • I made sure I was clear about the medical procedure I was having. So I talked to the surgeon to understand what was happening during and after in terms of how my body would be and the recovery time required. This took two extra re-visits to feel completely satisfied and each time was met with understanding and care from my consultant and nurses.
  • A couple of weeks before, making practical arrangements for myself and 2 children. This involved accommodation for them during and after my 5 day stay in hospital and a support system in place for myself post-surgery involving a small team of people so no one felt overwhelmed.
  • Letting go of needing to attend to and control every detail regarding the children, as they are old enough to express their needs to those caring for them and trusting others to take care of them.
  • Preparing some meals for the freezer and arranging my house, as I would like it for when I returned home knowing I am likely to feel more sensitive and fragile during my recovery period.
  • Honoring and accepting what my body is going through physically and to keep expressing and honoring how this feels.
  • Stopping work a few days before so I could focus on my needs and ensure I felt rested before the surgery.
  • Checking I had covered everything I would need to support me whilst waiting before surgery and during my stay in hospital, e.g. soft pillows, blanket (quite often in short supply in hospital), food to take, as well as someone delivering fresh food daily, favorite clothing etc.
  • Having someone unpack and create a space for me on returning to the ward. This felt wonderful!
  • In hospital staying aware of the staff I was interacting with, and though I was only with them a short time, getting to know them and forming a relationship.
  • Taking the necessary medication as a support for my body through the process, having checked the ingredients first to honour my gluten and dairy free diet.
  •  Asking and being open to help as well as allowing myself to be supported and looked after by others by not hiding my feelings of vulnerability and fragility.

Now having had time at home and to continue looking after myself and be looked after with the same quality, my recovery has been simple, with no complications. I have been able to consider that maybe the self care and true support I show towards myself is not only necessary because I was going into hospital but is actually how I am to live with myself everyday in order to take responsibility for my health and wellbeing and for true changes to occur.

I can see that in taking time and care with my part in the procedure i.e. setting up a support system etc. that my body could easily play its part by being open to the surgery and the healing that followed.

Over the last few years I have attended workshops presented by Universal Medicine and have heard the phrase to look after myself with the same tenderness as if I were a baby. I hadn’t fully felt or embraced what this meant but I am now learning each day to appreciate and understand these steps I make to self care and make choices to ensure I am looking after myself in the same quality I would care for a baby. Through the workshops I have been able to see and shake off those parts of me I have taken on to just to get through life. One of those ways was ‘head down and just get on with whatever was happening regardless of the struggle’ and obviously to sustain this existence it has meant losing the connection I had with myself as a child to know what truly honours and supports me in life. Simply put, now I am learning to live as the precious, beautiful woman I am and am willing to build a relationship with myself.

All I have shared is possible as a result of re-connecting and choosing to continually redevelop and deepen the care and love for myself I deserve as a woman. I am learning this is valuable as a support in daily life and I am worthy of that self care. However equally friends, family, Universal Medicine practitioners and hospital staff were involved who cared for myself and two children and helped towards making the ease of the above possible.

For this commitment and willingness to be there alongside me I express my huge thanks and appreciation.

By Julie Snelgrove, Merchandiser, Somerset, England

313 thoughts on “The True Support of Hospital Care coming from Self Care

  1. There was a key point that stood out for me in this blog and that was in the way you took care of yourself compared to the other person. Now it isn’t about competition, it is about how the two people were living and the fact that you took care of yourself is key. It is more that you took responsibility of your wellbeing that led to your experience. Whilst another will play little or no responsibility and expect others to take care of them or fix them, and hence their experience.

    It is our responsibility for our own wellbeing and the rest will follow in however it looks. Being responsible in many things then just one part of our lives, is a major component of life.

    Responsibility in life begins with the first breath we inhale as a newborn and continues till the day we take our last breath…

  2. I love hearing how you took care of yourself and this is definitely true ‘Could it be that how I cared for myself before going into hospital meant this way of being continued once I was there? Could it be I have a part to play in the quality of care I will receive from another?’ Also I am really appreciating our beloved National Health Service it really is something and definitely a service we should cherish and support ❤️

  3. Beautiful to read of the level of care and honouring you accepted and put in place to support you at this point in your life, ‘Asking and being open to help as well as allowing myself to be supported and looked after by others by not hiding my feelings of vulnerability and fragility.’

    1. Vulnerability and fragility is key in times of illnesses and as women we are reluctant to allow this. I know this from past experiences and just going there feels so lovely. It also doesn’t place demands on anyone else either.

  4. Valuing who we are deeply so, and knowing that we deserve to be cared for and looked after superbly well is a great ‘motivator’ to look after ourselves and in the process we are also more open to a deep appreciation of all the things that others bring to us too. When we appreciate even the smallest things, life feels much more full – it is a lot about perceptions and if we choose to see the cup as half empty or half full.

  5. Preparations for surgery and hospital stays and even for childbirth can all be very practical and supportive – organising the kids, preparing some foods etc. etc. These are all very loving ways of pre-empting how we can support ourselves knowing that our body will need more rest for the recovery process.

  6. Julie, I so appreciate your sharing – taking responsibility for how we recieve our health care is superbly important. We cannot just delegate the care of our body to the medical teams with a ‘fix this’ approach. It is about us taking equal and active care in deciding how and what the approach will be. Feeling and staying empowered to make decisions about our health and healthcare is paramount regardless of whether we are in the public or private system. Our health is in our hands but we are not alone with this so it is always a team approach.

  7. Julie this is very inspiring, in fact it would bode well if doctors gave patients your blog to read in preparation for there operation – very supportive indeed.

    1. Well said Mary and this comes not from a duty of care or love, but from a valuing oneself deeply so that the standard of care we offer ourselves is constantly growing.

    2. Caring for ourselves with love is our birthright, how great that more and more people are honouring this, ‘Simply put, now I am learning to live as the precious, beautiful woman I am and am willing to build a relationship with myself.’

  8. Choosing to deeply care and love myself inevitably develops a deeper sense of self-responsibility as no one but me can do that for myself. Asking to be cared for by others by just demanding it and being needy has never really worked for me.

  9. What a wonderful depth of care you brought to yourself that other people felt and honoured.

    I had a short stay in hospital and I wouldn’t say I was the best at self care by any stretch of the imagination but I certainly valued myself and was super honest and transparent with the staff – I’d seen how I’d got to where I was at. Staff were amazing! I was scared in the night so a nurse sat up with me until I was settled and the pain had subsided. Another patient was incredibly aggressive, probably also afraid but couldn’t show it in a way that allowed for care. I’m sure her version of the staff was the polar opposite to mine. I learnt that, given half the chance people love to show the care they have for others.

    1. So true Elizabeth – for the care we offer ourselves supports us in forming the loving foundation that we can stand upon no matter what situation comes our way.

  10. Self care is what most children miss to see And shared by their parents. Some learn to take care of others but care for ourselves in a true loving way is rarely seen.
    That is why we all learn so much from the family Benhayon, they share a deep love from their livingness.

  11. Preparing ourselves to go into hospital (when it is not an emergency) is a really great idea. It would definitely support us to be more with ourselves and ready for what is presented to us.

  12. What a reflection we offer others when we live self-care in all our movements, making self care our ‘normal’ confirms to others how natural and simple this quality is to live.

  13. I love the way that you set up the whole process of your operation, calling in the support and being prepared as much as possible without anxious control.

  14. I love your point about looking after yourself with the same tenderness as you would a baby, it puts a fresh perspective on how much we disregard ourselves – for example – we’d never take a baby outside in the cold in a t-shirt, you would wrap it up super snug so it could stay warm, the question is would we do the same for ourselves?

  15. Taking an absolute equal responsibility for our part in our healing is so important if we are to truly deal with why we became ill in the first place, and to aid our recovery back to full health. I love how you looked at every detail and took full responsibility for caring for and supporting yourself- this must surely make recovery so much faster, when we play such an active and committed role in it.

    1. We can play the victim in health and healing or choose to delve deeper into the lifestyle choices that led to the illness and disease. The more we are prepared to be responsible the more we are open to healing that allows us the choice to make a life style change not for the better but for true vitality and growth!

  16. I am due soon to be in hospital to have a baby – and reading this provides much inspiration for how I can prepare for my visit and what will truly support me. It is great to consider this level of detail in our days and to really nurture and support our bodies in this way.

  17. We can have all the theory in the world, we can read it, hear it and know it, but until we see and feel it lived in another then disconnect between the theory and the livingness can be too wide. Therefore building that relationship with our own bodies and inspiring each other to ‘go there’ offers more and more visual representations of the power of the livingness of self-care in our lives.

  18. Could the key to the outcome in any situation in life be in the preparation? Could what we consider to be the “big event” actually be the small part and the steps we take preceding the event be what is truly important?

  19. We can keep self care merely functional but as is noted here to take it to another level involves self-responsibility, a sense of worth, and true support or care for ourselves … this asks us to honour who we are and where we come from and to live in a way that truly supports that.

  20. “All I have shared is possible as a result of re-connecting and choosing to continually redevelop and deepen the care and love for myself I deserve as a woman. I am learning this is valuable as a support in daily life and I am worthy of that self care. ” Beautiful Julie. When we value and love ourselves we deeply care and look after ourselves. Could it be possible that then some impending illnesses could be averted?

  21. Taking responsibility for our own care brings a whole new experience when it comes to hospital visits. I just love how you offer people in the hospital a healing by going in with self care with the reflection we offer. You realise you are a walking healing symbol when we choose to self care and live the love we are.

  22. Everyone involved in supporting you would have been inspired by your level of love and care for yourself and your family. It makes an enormous difference in the healing process and recovery and what comes our way.

  23. Julie I absolutely love the fact you looked after yourself with such love and care – how amazing that the way you choose to deeply care for yourself allowed others to also hold you and respond to you in that space.

  24. This is an amazing article, because you put in to real life terms how we can actively influence the world around us by the way that we care for ourselves, and I find this very inspiring – to even just consider that what I give to myself is what the world gives to me in return is tremendous.

  25. From what you are sharing I can feel that every part matters, we have to be willing to take full responsibility for ourselves and never let it depend on others or expect it to come from others when we don’t give it to ourselves.

  26. I am receiving a lot of medical care at the moment and this blog is an absolute gift. If I empower myself through the process, connect to people and ask for support I give myself the best possible care.

  27. ‘Could it be that how I cared for myself before going into hospital meant this way of being continued once I was there? Could it be I have a part to play in the quality of care I will receive from another?’ This is such a great point Julie. What we sow, we reap.

  28. How important our attention to detail is to truly support our own self care and this reflection is what other respond to.

  29. This sharing helped me to understand why I have had some negative experiences while I was supporting a family member in the hospital. It was as if my negative expectations and judgements about the medical system was playing out and reflecting right back to me the lack of care, profit driven, and un-holistic approach that I thought it would be. In addition, the massive level of disregard and lack of self-care I was living back then was then shown by some of the staff. But it’s also interesting to feel into that experience now, because I actually have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for all the nurses and doctors that were working diligently to the best of their abilities to keep my family member alive (which they did successfully) under a lot of pressure with a uniquely difficult and rare condition.

    1. Respect is vital and bringing that respect alongside understanding really helps in highly stressful situations. If we can live with an understanding of the ever deepening relationship of those words as lived ways in our lives, then it influences every situation we find ourselves in.

  30. I really love this. The level of self-responsibility you share here is just so inspiring. Thank you, Julie. I can feel how I allow compromise and a blame-game where I am not willing to step up, and the big thing for me feels to be a judgment coming from the past experience and some other beliefs that get in the way of embracing a process with the whole of me.

  31. We are obsessed with seeing ourselves the innocent victims of life, instead of realising that we simply attract and magnetically pull events that perfectly reflect what we choose. Reflection is not just a momentary message from God but a consistent reminder of our true power.

  32. So interesting how we see what we live ! Such a clear example of your experience and the other patient.

  33. Self-care is sorely missing from many people’s lives, taking the steps and committing to self-care brings a different quality to our bodies, it is a foundation that we can constantly build upon and supports us immensely throughout life.

  34. What a great blog! How to take maximal advantage of what the medical system offers while supporting the medical practitioners. Perhaps the two go together.

    1. Yes Christoph perhaps they do go together! It isn’t rocket science is it and yet that does show us that there is a side to us that rejects love and care as it is too obvious that this is the way forward for healing.

  35. “This self-care event helped me reflect on how the choice to provide true support, and really care for myself in a way I haven’t previously, was part of why I had an amazing stay in hospital recently” there are so many versions of what self-care is and is not, what it looks like and how to do it. What if as you share there can be a depth of love and care for oneself that is truly true. I’ve found that is all encompassing from the way I dress to the medical checkups I have and that’s thanks to what Serge has presented and what I’ve tested for me and feels true.

  36. When we are not active in our own care for ourselves what can the foundation that the quality of care others provide us be based on.

    1. That is true, it makes it a lot harder for care-givers, even though they are used to such responses.

  37. It is interesting that how we love and care for ourselves, or not, is reflected by the way we are treated by others as in the case of you and the lady in the ward with you, two so very different situations. Taking responsibility for our part in our own healing by self loving choices goes a long way in our healing process.

  38. Letting ourselves being deeply cared for is also something that does not come easy when we are not loving ourselves. It sounds silly but sometimes it is our protection and inability to let love in, that does not allow people to truly care for us. By caring for ourselves and loving ourselves by doing more and more loving things for ourselves helps with also accepting other people to love and care for you back.

  39. If everyone took equal care of themselves prior, during and post a hospital stay this would reform the National Health Service in both clinical outcome and job appreciation for all the medical and support staff.

  40. In special circumstances we bring a deeper level of care. But why do we wait till dire circumstances hit to bring love and understanding? Perhaps as you show Julie it’s simply because we think our average day is ‘ok’ when it’s not. Living without nurturing and support is a harsh way to be.

  41. I love that reminder…to take care of myself if i am a small baby.
    To give myself the warmth in my house and all the care and love I deserve so much.

    1. I experienced this last week being very sick and at home from work, all I could explain how I cared and listened to my body was like supporting a baby. All my body wanted was to sleep, have fluids, shower and sleep more… my mind and what I ‘think’ I need to do was halted and my body was the focus.

  42. This reminds me that sometimes I think we can get into a set routine or degree of care for ourselves (or lack of it!) but it’s important to stay open to feeling or sensing what is needed next, for things may change as there is always a deeper level of honouring to allow ourselves to connect with. Thank you for sharing how you “…continually redevelop and deepen the care and love for myself I deserve…”.

  43. Bringing self-care to your work and life in general makes a massive difference to the quality of what you produce and how you live. Whilst the day tp day aspects of life may be similar to another, the quality can feel vastly different.

  44. Great sharing Julie on how we contribute to our own healing and care. Bringing care from a love for ourselves instead of a function that needs to happen brings about a deeper level of care that the body can’t help but respond to. Healing loves love.

  45. Julie, your blog would act as a great pre surgery leaflet for anyone about to go into hospital – really this is the stuff we need to be preparing loving for.

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