“Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your professional and personal commitments.”
-University of Buffalo, School of Social Work
Practicing self-care will help you:
Identify and manage the general challenges that all hard-working professionals face, such as the potential for stress and burnout or interpersonal difficulties.
Be aware of your own personal vulnerabilities, such as the potential for retraumatization (if you have a trauma history), vicarious or secondary traumatization (if you work with individuals who report their own traumatic experiences), and compassion fatigue (which you can develop from a combination of burnout and vicarious traumatization).
Achieve more balance in your life, by maintaining and enhancing the attention you pay to the different domains of your life in a way that makes sense to you.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
– Audre Lorde
”I argue that in order to produce true social transformation and strive for a radical notion of collective freedom, we must pay attention not only to our political/ideological positions, but also to our individual and collective practices of self-care and healing – practices that are themselves deeply political. Pedagogies and praxis in the Black feminist tradition that are accountable to oppressed communities must take a serious look at healing, balance and self-care as powerful forms of resistance to hegemonic cultures and structures.”
– Jennifer Richardson
There is no “one-size-fits-all” self-care plan, but there is a common thread to all self-care plans: making a commitment to attend to all the domains of your life, including your physical and psychological health, emotional and spiritual needs, and relationships.
Use this Self-Care Planning worksheet to help you craft a plan. There are many different templates online you can explore or create your own.
Emergency self-care is just as important as self-care planning, however, it is often an element that is forgotten about. Use your emergency self-care plan when your stress levels are very high, triggered, or you have high emotions.
Throughout your self-care journey, there will be coping skills and strategies that work sometimes and don’t work other times. Explore which coping skills consistently work, and for the ones that don’t, consider new ones.