Self-Care Practices


Self Care

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Providing care and support in the immediate aftermath of a disaster can be an enriching professional and personal experience. It can also be physically and emotionally exhausting.

Activities that promote self-care include:

Managing personal resources.

  • Planning for family/home safety, including making child care and pet care arrangements
  • Getting adequate exercise, nutrition, and relaxation.

Using stress-management tools, such as:

  • Accessing supervision routinely to share concerns, identifying difficult experiences, and strategizing to solve problems.
  • Practicing brief relaxation techniques during the workday.
  • Sharing upsetting emotional responses with another person.
  • Staying aware of limitations and needs.
  • Recognizing when one is Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (HALT), and taking the appropriate self-care measures.
  • Increasing positive activities.
  • Practicing religious faith, philosophy, spirituality.
  • Spending time with family and friends.
  • Learning how to “put stress away:’
  • Writing, drawing, or painting.
  • Limiting caffeine, cigarette, and substance use.

As much as possible, providers should make every effort to:

  • Self-monitor and pace their efforts.
  • Maintain boundaries: delegate, say no, and avoid working with too many survivors in a given shift.
  • Perform regular check-ins with colleagues, family, and friends.
  • Work with partners or in teams.
  • Take relaxation/stress management/bodily care/refreshment breaks.
  • Utilize regular peer consultation and supervision.
  • Try to be flexible, patient, and tolerant.
  • Accept that you cannot change everything.

Lastly, providers should avoid engaging in:

  • Extended periods of solo work without colleagues.
  • Working “round the clock” with few breaks.
  • Negative self-talk that reinforces feelings of inadequacy or incompetency.
  • Excess use of food/substances as support.

Common attitudinal obstacles to self-care:

  1. “It would be selfish to take time to rest.”
  2. “Others are working around the clock, so should I.”
  3. “The needs of survivors are more important than the needs of helpers:’
  4. “I can contribute the most by working all the time.”
  5. “I am the only one who can do certain tasks.”

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Relaxation Technique  РMindfulness Meditation

Listen to this sample audio on Loving Kindness Meditation by Dr. John Lim

Click here to read more about Loving Kindness Meditation.