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What is Self-Care?

Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Common examples of self-care include: maintaining a regular sleeping routine, eating healthy, spending time in nature, doing a hobby you enjoy, and expressing gratitude. Self-care can look different for everyone, but the behavior should promote health and happiness for you.

Self-care is an essential tool for centering yourself and meeting your needs. As a result of tactics used by abusers, survivors of relationship violence are often unable to prioritize their own needs or can/could not do so during the relationship, due to the control they endure/d. Learning more about self-care can help survivors become aware of activities that may assist them in their healing process, as well as help them to regain power and control in their own lives.

Self-care looks different for everyone, and it is important to find what you need and enjoy. It may take some time to figure out what works best for you. Below are some ideas and resources to help get you started:

Activities that help you to stay fit and healthy:

  • Take a walk
  • Be in nature for 10 minutes a day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Nourish your body with quality food
  • Get massages
  • Turn off your cellphone off for awhile
  • Nap if you need to
  • Hydrate; drink plenty of water
  • Eat regular meals

Activities that help you to feel clear-headed and able to intellectually engage within your work and personal life:

  • Journal
  • Therapy
  • Join a support group
  • Explore hobbies (Draw, paint, music)
  • Relax in the sun
  • Garden
  • Try a new restaurant

Allowing yourself to take care of your feelings in a healthy way:

  • Laugh
  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Buy yourself a present
  • Cuddle with your pet
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Self-love/positive affirmations
  • Observe how you feel without judgment and cry if you want
  • Journal

Activities that focus on you in the present and future:

  • Plan short- and long-term goals
  • Make a vision board
  • Get coffee with a friend
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Organize your days

Activities that give you a sense of higher perspective about life:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Pray
  • Dance
  • Volunteer for a cause
  • Meditate
  • Foster self-forgiveness
  • Immerse in the feeling of gratitude for 5 minutes per day
  • Participate in a cause important to you

Activities that help you focus better and be more productive at work:

  • Take time for lunch
  • Leave work at work
  • Set boundaries
  • Say no to excessive responsibilities
  • Take breaks
  • Get regular supervision
  • Utilize your vacation and sick days
Self-Care for Survivors Worksheet. A worksheet listing ideas for self care in the following realms. Physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and professional.