Trauma-Informed Organization: Self-Care

Posted on September 23, 2022

“Self-care” is the buzz word of 2022. We are constantly hearing people talk about “self-care” and that we are supposed to make time for it. But…what is “self-care?"

You may hear that term and instantly think of yoga, bubble baths, drinking water or whatever else is being promoted as the “good for you” health trend of the week. Who has time for that? I certainly don’t want to be balancing on a mountain somewhere, thinking of my mounting emails!

What hasn’t been shared is that self-care is an intentional practice to increase our daily capacity to manage stress, reduce symptoms of mental health concerns, achieve goals and potential, and maintain positive connections. But more importantly, self-care benefits you, your family and those you work with!

Developing a self-care plan is a lifelong practice of learning what works for you and what doesn’t. It also means that you intentionally build practices into your daily routine so that they become a habit. One massage will not end burnout or compassion fatigue, but a continual practice of caring for your physical health, for example, may keep you from ever getting there in first place.

So, where you do you start? Self-awareness and assessment are the key to getting your self-care off on the right foot. You can use the attached self-care assessment to get a baseline for how you’re doing. From there, you want to really look at each area to determine what is going well, and where you could use some extra support.

Some examples for a self-care plan are:

  • Physical Self-Care
    1. Get enough sleep
    2. Light exercise/stretching to keep your body moving
    3. Eat healthily, including proteins, fruit and fats
    4. Step outside for some fresh air
  • Psychological Self-Care
    1. Start a Gratitude Journal
      — Write down three to five things you are especially grateful for the past day, few days or week
      — Allows you to reframe your mindset toward the positive things that are happening around you
      — Adapt the practice to what you need: Daily? Every shift? Every Friday?
    2. Engage your intelligence in new areas (read a book about a new topic)
    3. Be curious
  • Social Self-Care
    1. Stay in contact with important people in your life
    2. Love yourself (non-judgmentally, through radical acceptance)
    3. Find things that make you laugh
    4. Making changes on social media
      — Use social media to share something positive
      — Make social media changes to take care of yourself: unplug, unfollow

Remember you are a WHOLE being and need to be thoughtful about the various areas that make you…you! This process is not a one-and-done effort. Different weeks or levels of demands may require different types of support. That is perfectly fine! There is no wrong way to move through this process, as long as you’re doing it. Most importantly, please remember to be kind to yourself.