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Tip Sheet: Self Care

Self-care, or care of oneself, is a protective factor against compassion fatigue. Self-care is most effective when engaged proactively and intentionally. It is an individualized process with numerous factors, such as personal preferences, belief systems, cultural backgrounds, and personal life circumstances.

Self-care empowers holistic health and well- being. To restore or improve one’s own health, it is important to consider:

  • Personal awareness.
  • Time for reflection and expression of difficult situations and emotions.
  • Meaningful connections with friends or family.
  • Broaden the circle of your own support.
  • Have good breaks from caregiving.
  • Gravitate towards what brings comfort.
  • Physical activity that is fun.
  • Healthy and regular eating.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Balance among relationships, family, play, and rest.
  • Focus on growth and healing rather than suffering.

Basic Philosophy with strategies to support mental health

Rest – Play – Escape

Rest, play, and escape is not just a catchy heading – it does suggest purposeful self-care actions or the intentional focus on slowing down, pausing, and looking after oneself. Rest means more than doing nothing, and play suggests other activities that one enjoys and focuses on wellness. Escape – getting away from it all, is as important as rest and play. Sometimes escape means a change of scenery and leaving your physical surroundings. Though a road trip or mini-vacation can be more challenging to organize, it naturally includes rest and play and is a very good approach for a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual reset.

Rest: Having no goal or timeline, engaging in activities that are relaxing such as sitting in the sun, reading a book, watching a movie, taking a nap, going out for dinner, or getting a massage.

Play: Engaging in activities that make a person laugh or ‘lighten’ one’s spirits. Examples include sharing funny stories with a friend, playing with children, being creative, or being physically active.

Escape: Getting away from trauma and grief, physically, and mentally. This includes taking a day off or having a vacation. Escape can also be on a daily basis, such as taking time away from work or the house.