Psychological Self-Care & First Aid Strategies
- Sleep enough but not too much
- Eat healthy foods and regularly
- Keep up personal hygiene
- Create/find safe, surroundings
- Do things that you enjoy—music, exercise, gardening, etc.
- Set boundaries with people who are not helpful
- Slow down and relax
- Set realistic expectations
- Decide what your real priorities are
- Do not compare how you handle situations to the way other people handle situations
- Maintain some beliefs that sustain you when the going is tough.
- Remind yourself of other times when you faced challenges; remind yourself of the strategies you used to get through those times. Those same strategies may help you with current challenges.
- Find something that gives hope, meaning, and a future for your life. We all have something that gives meaning to our lives.
- Have important people and activities in your life. The people who do the best are those who are independent and able to do their own thinking AND are able to ask for a hand up when they need it.
- Act with integrity and professionalism. Make ethical decisions. Assume personal accountability. Be aware that you can do good work and have a bad outcome. Find ways to accept outcomes—not in a casual or callous way but knowing that you have done your best.
- Deal with your disappointments and put them away.
Sometimes with the best of preventive care, things happen that overwhelm us.
- Unanticipated events—you always know the possibility is lurking out there but don’t know exactly what it will be.
- Unrealistic expectations that we should be able to do it all and do it all perfectly, or at least very well.
- Sometimes our own complicated lives make it hard to deal with work issues—personal concerns, financial, family, health, social
What to do after you start to feel out of balance?
- Maintain/return to self-care strategies. If you’ve neglected self-care, start doing it.
- Stay in the present; don’t borrow trouble. Rumors are a great way to borrow trouble; listening to rumors can get your stress level kicked into high gear.
- Do good for others. It keeps us from getting too focused on ourselves.
- Remember the good you do will last for many years. No one but yourselves may know the good work you do, but you will know about it and that’s important.
- We are all part of groups of colleagues. What we do to handle ourselves affects our whole group.
- Take what you learn and use it for the good of the group. Doing that can lend purpose and meaning to even bad experiences.
- Know your impacts on others (personally and professionally).
- Be in favor improvements.
- Share what you learn.
Contributed by Delores Kessel, Licensed Clinical Social Worker for NAMI Northwoods