Listen: Hope Breakfast's Ally Barnes chats with Brooke McAlary about her new book 'Care'
Over the last few years, we have been faced with big things to care about – from bushfires, to the pandemic, Black Lives Matter concerns, and the environment.
We are wired to care. And caring is important. But it can be overwhelming and exhausting.
In Brooke McAlary’s book Care, we’re confronted by the drain of caring too much, while at the same time caring too little and becoming apathetic.
“Like many people, I experienced a case of burnout last year… I spent so much time and energy on these really big and important cares, and I had neglected the small cares, the cares that can revive your soul, that can strengthen your relationships and build self compassion and kindness,” Brooke told Hope Breakfast.
Brooke suggested a functional and balanced response to the big cares of the world.
“It’s about shrinking the idea of care – community care, personal care, family care – into tiny acts and recognising that while they may feel too small, that’s actually where the power of them lies, in the ease of which we can practice them regularly, and the ripples they create.”
“It’s about shrinking the idea of care into tiny acts and recognising that while they may feel too small, that’s actually where the power of them lies,” – author Brooke McAlary
Brooke says the small acts of care fill us up in a way that then allows us to turn around and care more about the big issues, in a more sustainable way.
Each chapter ends with practical suggestions of how you can care, based on your current capacity.
If you have half a minute, you could tidy the office kitchen, ask the name of someone you frequently interact with like your barista or security guard at work and then use their name whenever you see them, or pick up rubbish on the street or at the beach.
If you have half an hour, you could donate blood, call your grandparents, cook something for a friend or neighbour and drop it over.
If you half a day or more, you could babysit a friend’s child, or pack up your unwanted books and donate them to a homeless shelter.
For more suggestions of how to care without burning out, listen to the full interview with Brooke McAlary in the player above.