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Self-Care


At the foundation of our work is self-care training.  Providers in direct service work face a variety of challenges arising from the increasing acuity of the needs of the populations they serve.   Since much of what we do in direct service is happening through human relational contact, as clients face increasing levels of stress and trauma, those of us working with them are in turn experiencing increased stress levels.  This phenomenon, known as ‘vicarious’ or ‘secondary’ trauma or ‘empathic fatigue’ can have profound impacts on providers.  Increased and chronic stress has a cascade of negative health repercussions, including the obvious (hyper-tension, difficulty sleeping, lack of enjoyment of work) as well as immune dysregulation, negative emotionality, and effects on memory.  Additionally, trauma in clients can activate unresolved emotional issues in providers, or simply become overwhelming.  This can result in providers being less willing to, or capable of attending to the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of their clients.  For this reason, it is imperative that providers have access to tools for self-care, stress reduction, and for managing/ working with their own trauma and negative emotionality so that they can maintain equilibrium and vitality in the face of the intensity of demands made on them by their clients. 


LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Self-care trainings give providers concrete tools and practices for:

•    Examining own core beliefs around the importance (or lack of) they place on self-care
•    Understanding how those core beliefs were created and re-enforced
•    Understanding that the practice of self-care is the practice of changing habits
•    Understanding that habit change is the practice of re-wiring behavior
•    Understanding the neurological basis of behavior change in neuro-plasticity
•    An understanding of the importance of cultivating the relaxation response
•    The physiology of the relaxation response, and why it needs to be practiced
•    Cultivating the relaxation response, increasing equilibrium and positive emotionality
•    Exploring how to prioritize self-care so that it isn’t one more item on a to-do list
•    Mapping self-care as a response to weekly stress cycles
•    Developing a personal self-care schedule based on our unique preference
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