Practising fierce, compassionate self-care in 2019

You can watch our chat here.

I first met Katie Kettner at a Happy Bladder Course in 2018. I found her enthusiasm for our profession and passion for collating ways in which she can help people rehabilitate utterly inspiring. She is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist based in the North East of England with a diploma in counselling, is currently working towards a diploma is psychosexual Medicine and is studying a pastoral certificate via Loyola University in Chicago including the study of the psychology of human development and our quest for meaning.

She says of herself

“I have a deep and fierce passion for Women! Since working in this field, I have developed a huge compassion and empathy towards Women’s health and feel enthusiastic to not just help Women, but to celebrate them and honour them; and encourage them to do the same. This desire has led me to some fascinating discoveries from all sorts of fields, including neuroscience and psychology which is helping me provide hollistic Physiotherapy and care to my patients.”

After one of her recent lectures regarding self-care, compassion and stress we sat down to talk about how we can bring self-care into the therapy sphere. The video system’s a bit skewed for the first section, but my face does eventually appear – you see enough of me anyway! I’m sure you’ll survive. Enjoy!

These are some of the things we talked about:

Ways to self-care

The Daily Examen: (This exercise has been practiced for thousands of years and can/has been adapted in numerous ways. It comes from St. Ignatius as one of his spiritual exercises. While it’s roots are in spirituality, it is generally beneficial in the world of well-being and self-care.)


Going through the events of your day


Being thankful for things in your day. Recognising the things in your day that went well and that are worthy of a shout out and a good praise!


Looking at the thing in the day that didn’t go as you would have liked or as you expected. Things you feel you didn’t get right? Were you disappointed in yourself in anyway? Things that weren’t loving towards yourself or others? Reflect on them with compassion and love, and validate any feelings you have.


How can you do things differently?

How can you prepare yourself for tomorrow?


Five F’s – help our self-care and to ensure we can receive life instead of solely manage it.




Take the time to look at your deepest values and inner callings. Channel your energy on things that give you life.

What things do you need to do well in life? What things do you need to stop in order that you can do those things well?


Spiritual wellbeing. All humans at some point in their life find themselves on a quest for meaning, it’s important we can encourage this in one another.


Time, wisdom and friendship – these are the very things that the human heart was created for, that the human heart feeds on and lives for. Its important we make room for them.

Mindfulness, fellowship and rest (and day dreaming funnily enough) allow for wisdom development within the brain. According to Neuroscience – Dr Caroline Leaf.

‘Wisdom is to know how to see and hear on different levels at the same time.’ –  R.Rohr – Had to drop this quote in – working in pelvic pain requires A LOT of wisdom to fine tune into our wonderful patients!

Mental self-care Tips – to better prepare for 2019: (Taken from the fabulous work of Dr. Caroline Leaf – Neuroscientist)

How to mentally prepare for a stressful/busy week?

An attitude of expectation – a hopeful expectation

When you go into a mindset of expectation your mind causes your brain to shift and be better prepared. Your brain shifts and changes gears that puts you in a state of hope – almost like a placebo effect. When in this mindset you have much more clarity of cognition, much wiser, much more insightful therefore much more able to cope with the week ahead.

Know the difference between Good Stress and Bad Stress

Good stress – you have the right amount of adrenaline, cortisol and dopamine. Good stress helps you have clarity of vision, purpose and drive, increased oxygen to the brain. Good stress helps you focus, stay sharp and keep going in the right direction.

Bad stress – too much cortisol and adrenaline, not enough dopamine. Poor balance of the things you need to handle a situation. You can block out, become panicky, can’t do anything, feel awful, run on overdrive.

Stress is good for you – by your choices and perceptions you can stay in good stress (when it is required).


Incorporating and practicing self-compassion on a daily basis is to ensure we are connected to ourselves and to others. In self-compassion we hold ourselves with love and acceptance – validating, soothing and comforting any pain or difficulties we experience so that we can ‘be’ with it without being consumed by it. Self-compassion is a way of acting in the world to protect ourselves, provide what we need, and motivate change to reach our full potential.

As well as a tender and gentle approach, compassion towards ourselves as care-givers needs to be fierce.

Three components of self-compassion (researched and configured by Kristin Neff):

Self-kindness Vs. Self-judgement

Common humanity Vs. Isolation

Mindfulness Vs. Over-identification


Lets all be fiercely compassionate in 2019!


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