Compassion fatigue (also known as vicarious trauma or secondary traumatic stress) can happen to anyone who works in the business of caring for others—be it in one’s professional life or personal life. There is sometimes a stigma attached to taking care of ourselves, as we are often taught to “take care of others first” from an early age. When you work, live with, or encounter people on a daily basis who are in pain, who are suffering, or who have experienced trauma, it is absolutely essential that you take time to care for yourself. It is often easier said than done, but it is absolutely essential to this work!

Self-care does not need to be complicated or take a lot of time. It should not be something that will add stress to your life. Listed below are some methods of self-care.

  • Baking
  • Canoeing or kayaking
  • Cooking
  • Crafting
  • Dancing
  • Doing photography and other forms of art
  • Doing yoga
  • Drawing
  • Eating a relaxing meal at your 
favorite restaurant
  • Enjoying a cup of coffee or tea
  • Enjoying a spa day
  • Enjoying some alone time
  • Exercising (running, going for a walk, 
lifting weights, rock climbing, etc.)
  • Finding joy in each day
  • Getting a massage
  • Hiking
  • Journaling or blogging
  • Laughing
  • Listening to music
  • Meditating
  • Painting
  • Playing a sport
  • Playing an instrument
  • Praying
  • Scrapbooking
  • Sculpting
  • Shopping
  • Singing
  • Smiling
  • Spending time at the beach
  • Spending time taking in the sights—even if 
it’s local!
  • Spending time with family and/or 
  • Taking a nap
  • Taking a relaxing bath
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Talking to others—especially those who 
are in a similar field and truly “get it”
  • Traveling
  • Watching a movie
  • Watching television
  • Working in your garden
  • Writing poetry

As you can see from the list above, the methods of self-care are endless. It is often best if you employ methods of self-care that you already enjoy or are interested in trying. Don’t force yourself to try something new if you don’t want to, as that may only add stress. Whatever you decide to do, know that the key is making a concerted effort to take that time for yourself and doing so as often as you can!

Categories: Improve Your Group, Parent Group, Parenting

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The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) supports, educates, inspires, and advocates so adoptive families thrive and every child in foster care has a permanent, safe, loving family.


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