Compassion Strengths

Workshops, consultations, education and support for care givers.

Self-care Checklist

Self-care, caregiver, compassion fatigue
The Need for Self-Care
(From Saakvitne and Pearlman: Transforming the Pain. 1996 Norton)

Given the physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional stresses of our work, there isn't one of us who doesn't need to improve in some area of self-care. Caregivers are notoriously poor at self-care to begin with - and too often get worse rather than better as their work responsibilies increase.

Assessing Self-Care

Many caregivers only implement those types of self-care that directly help others (e.g., I'll take time off when I am sick because that models self-care to my clients"). This philosolphy reflects to narrow a definition of self: self as helper. Work is a part of life, but not its totality. we need balance between work and leisure, action and reflection, giving and taking. We must embrace and integrate all of the many aspects of our selves.

The following worksheet for assessing self-care is not exhaustive, merely suggestive. Feel free to add areas of self-care that are relevant for you and rate yourself on how often and how well you are taking care of yourself these days.

When you are finished, look for patterns in your responses. Are you more active in some areas of self-care but ignore others? Are there items on the list that make you think, "I would never do that"? Listen to your inner responses, your internal dialogue about self-care and making yourself a priority.


Rate the following areas in frequency

5 = Frequently

4 = Occasionally

3 = Rarely

2 = Never

1 = It never occurred to me

Physical Self-Care

____    Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

____    Eat healthily

____    Exercise

____    Get regular medical care for prevention

____    Take time off when sick

____    Get massages

____    Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that’s fun

____    Get enough sleep

____    Wear clothes you like

____    Take vacations

____    Take day trips or mini-vacations

____     Make time away from telephones, pagers, email, internet

____    Other

Psychological Self-Care

____    Make time for self-reflection

____    Have your own personal psychotherapy

____    Write in a journal

____    Read literature that is unrelated to work

____    Do something at which you are not expert or in charge

____    Decrease stress in your life

____    Notice your inner experience – listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings

____    Let others know different aspect of you

____    Engage your intelligence in a new area, e.g., go to an art museum, sports event, theater performance

____    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 favorite books, re-view favorite 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

____    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 nonmaterial 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

____    Spend time with children

____    Have experiences of awe

____    Contribute to causes in which you believe

____    Read inspirational literature (talks, music, etc.)

____    Other:

Workplace or Professional Self-Care

____    Take a break during the workday (e.g., lunch)

____    Take time to chat with co-workers

____    Make quiet time to complete tasks

____    Identify projects or tasks that are exciting and rewarding

____    Balance your caseload so no one day or part of a day is “too much”

____    Get regular supervision or consultation

____    Negotiate for your needs (benefits, pay raise)

____    Have a peer support group

____    Develop a non-trauma area of professional interest

Web Hosting Companies