Self-Care

What is Self-Care?

Just like we can take care of our physical body by sleeping well and eating a healthy meal, we can do the same in taking care of our mental well-being.

Engaging in self-care includes doing activities that are added into one's regular routine to reduce stress, maintain and promote mental, physical, and emotional health. It is a way to take care of yourself, and is not a "selfish" thing to do.

Benefits of Self-Care

Self-care encourages you to have a healthy relationship with yourself, to improve your mood and overall health and wellbeing. It can also help to:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Improves your focus

  • Strengthens your relationships

  • Helps you sleep better

  • Boosts confidence and self-esteem

  • Allows you to relax

What is Burnout?

Burnout happens when we feel exhausted - mentally, physically and/or emotionally. For example, when we feel stressed for long periods without taking care of ourselves, our energy levels may start to run low and experience intense overwhelm.

How do you know you are experiencing burnout?

Burnout has physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms:

  • Physical Symptoms: headaches, stomachache, intestinal issues

  • Emotional Symptoms: feeling drained, unable to cope, tiredness, lack of energy, overwhelmed, unmotivated

  • Behavioural Signs and Syptoms: procrastinating or skipping tasks, withdrawing from others, unhealthy coping mechanisms (drinking, food)

How to Prevent or Overcome Burnout?

1) Learn how to reduce stress

Recognize your stressors and the way you physically and mentally respond to stress triggers.

 

For example, if you find that you are procrastinating due to anxiety about completing a task, you might look for ways to plan ahead or complete the hardest tasks first to minimize these feelings.​

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2) Manage your thoughts and feelings

Once you have identified your triggers, look for ways to manage your thoughts and feelings about the situation including:

  • Asking yourself whether your expectations are realistic and manageable

  • Are you able to complete tasks in the given timeframe

  • Listing out short and long-term goals 

  • Identifying your limitations 

  • Knowing when to take a break 

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3) Improve your relationships

It can be easy to feel like you need to take on everything in your life on your own including your daily responsibilities. Asking for help can be difficult, but can be beneficial in reducing the stress in your life. 

For example, if you are finding it difficult to balance all your tasks or are stuck on some of your next steps, asking someone you trust can be the first step in releasing those overwhelming feelings. 

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4) Knowing how to balance health and happiness

Know that is it okay to take a step back from your responsibilities to look after your overall health and happiness. In the long-term, chronic stress can lead to your body becoming more prone to sickness and reduce your overall productivity. 

For example, consistently sleeping late to finish a school or work project may lead to you getting sick and feeling exhausted. Taking the necessary breaks 

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5) Motivate yourself to find ways to reduce stress

Setting up a "toolbox" of activities when feeling stressed can be helpful in reducing burnout in the long-term. For example, doing activities or hobbies you enjoy can help to release tension in your everyday life. 

It is also important to remember that self-care is not always about bubble baths and treats. Most of the time, self-care should include looking after your essential needs including getting enough rest, eating well, and exercising. 

The Self-Care Wheel

The self-care wheel can be used as a tool to help individuals recognize the different aspects of self-care. 

Effective self-care means finding a balance between the following 6 categories that help us to meet our daily needs:

 

  • Physical

  • Psychological

  • Emotional

  • Spiritual

  • Personal

  • Professional

The following wheel is developed by the Olga Phoenix Project, and can be personalized according to each individual's needs and coping tools.

Click the image to download the chart.

Ways to Self-Care

  • Take care of your essential needs 

  • Do 30 minutes of physical activity a day

  • Maintain a healthy diet

  • Cook and bake

  • Have a healthy sleep routine

  • Schedule time throughout your day for self-care

  • Find things you enjoy, do at least one thing you enjoy each day

  • Watch a show or movie

  • Make time to see family and friends

  • Keep a journal

  • Talk to someone

  • Practice yoga and meditation

  • Treat yourself

  • Take a walk

Developing a Self-Care Plan

Your self-care plan is unique to your own values and needs. This can change over time according to what you need in any given moment.

Understand how you cope now

  • Listing self-care strategies you presently do

  • List activities that negatively impact you, and try to avoid them

Do a self-care assessment

  • You might find you are already incorporating many strategies which can help formulate your plan

Add quick and easy strategies

  • Can be beneficial in a crisis

  • Calm breathing techniques

  • Taking a walk

Self-Care Infographics & Tip Sheets

Click one of the topics below to download and print our sheets or click here to view more of our infographics. 

The 7 Pillars of Self-Care