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Self-Care Checklist

Physical Self-Care

  • Eat regularly (3 meals)
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise
  • Get regular medical care for prevention
  • Get medical care when needed
  • Take time off when sick
  • Get massages/pedicures, etc.
  • Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that is fun
  • Take time to be sexual
  • Get enough sleep
  • Wear clothes you like
  • Take vacations
  • Make time away from telephones
  • Other:

Psychological Self-Care

  • Make time for self-reflection
  • Have your own personal counselling/therapy
  • Write in a journal
  • Read literature that is unrelated to school or work
  • Do something at which you are not expert or in charge of
  • Decrease stress in your life
  • Notice your inner experience: listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings
  • Let others know different aspects of you
  • Engage your intelligence in a new area (e.g. go to an art museum, history exhibit, sports event, theatre or musical performance, etc.)
  • Practice receiving from others
  • Be curious
  • Say no to extra responsibilities sometimes
  • Other:

Emotional Self-Care

  • Spend time with others whose company you enjoy
  • Stay in contact with important people in your life
  • Give yourself affirmations, praise yourself
  • Love yourself
  • Reread favourite books, re-view favourite movies
  • Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships, places, and seek them out
  • Allow yourself to cry
  • Find things that make you laugh
  • Express your outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests
  • Play with children
  • Other:

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Make time for reflection
  • Spend time with nature
  • Find a spiritual connection or community
  • Be open to inspiration
  • Cherish your optimism and hope
  • Be aware of non-material aspects of life
  • Try at times not to be in charge or the expert
  • Be open to not knowing
  • Identify what is meaningful to you and notice its place in your life
  • Meditate / Pray
  • Sing
  • Have experiences of awe
  • Contribute to causes in which you believe
  • Read inspirational literature, listen to inspirational talks or music
  • Other:

Workplace / School Self-Care

  • Take a break during the workday or schoolday (e.g., lunch)
  • Take time to chat with other students/co-workers
  • Make quiet time to complete tasks
  • Identify projects or tasks that are exciting and rewarding
  • Set limits with clients and colleagues, friends, etc.
  • Balance your caseload so no one day or part of a day is “too much”
  • Arrange your work space so it is comfortable and comforting
  • Get regular supervision / consultation / feedback from teachers or peer mentors
  • Negotiate for your needs (benefits, extensions, etc.)
  • Have a peer support group
  • Other:


  • Strive for balance within your work or academic life and workday (e.g. take breaks instead of procrastination, identify productive times of day and plan tasks accordingly, recognize when you need to change your activity)
  • Strive for balance among work, family, relationships, play and rest


Rate Yourself
5 = Frequently
4 = Occasionally
3 = Rarely
2 = Never
1 = It never occurred to me

Adapted from Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization. Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996)