Self Care and Coping Skills: a Foundation You Can Thrive On
Date:Sunday April 25, 2021
Self-care and coping are the tools we use to relieve tension, stress and maintain our wellbeing. It can be difficult for many of us to prioritize our own health and wellness when we are tasked with taking care of others. It is not uncommon for first responders to neglect their own personal wellness. If this happens in small ways or infrequently, we can usually take it in stride, but as we experience cumulative exposures or critical incidents, good self-care becomes a vital protective factor that helps us operate at our best. It can be easy for some of us to ignore our own wellness until we are in desperate need.
Why is it Important to Practice Good Self-Care and Coping?
Practicing good self-care and coping is preventative care. It helps us build up our own personal toolbox of resilience. If we wait to put in place this necessary practice until a critical incident occurs or we begin feeling negative effects of multiple exposures from the job, it can be more difficult to make them a regular practice.
What are Some Suggestions for Self-Care and Coping Techniques?
- Stay active
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Engage your support system and talk to others
- Practice healthy eating habits
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise and meditate
- Address unmet needs
- Tactical Breathing
- Ask for help
What to Avoid
People who are struggling with a lack of self-care may gravitate toward unhealthy means to cope with their feelings. Here are a few examples of habits that may seem to help people feel better in the moment but will not restore them long-term.
- Unhealthy distractions
- Hurting yourself or others
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Over medicating