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Self Care For Those Supporting Survivors

If a survivor chooses to share their story with you, it is often a sign of trust and comfort, and it is a privilege and an honor to have that trust. It can also be difficult to hear about the pain of another person.  It’s important to take care of yourself, so that you can support a survivor in their time of need. 

Below are some strategies for self-care:

Schedule a Session with AVI

AVI offers debriefing sessions, where you can sit down with a confidential counselor to talk about how you feel and how you can take care of yourself after receiving a disclosure. To schedule a session with a clinician, click here:

General Self-Care

  • Sleep is our foundation for well-being; think about your sleep pattern/cycle. If needed, reduce screen time or time meals to promote better sleep.
  • Movement helps our bodies to process difficult emotions and the physiological changes that come with them. Choose the movement that feels good for you; walking and basic yoga poses are very effective in this regard.
  • Nutrition also plays a big role in our mood and energy level. Choosing foods that promote mood stability and sustained energy can help. Some suggestions: dark, leafy greens (high in magnesium which helps manage tension); eggs (tend to be filling and sustaining); smoothies (often packed with nutrients).
  • Play is the most underrated part of health. Take unstructured time to be silly, to move with no other purpose, to promote laughter/joy.
  • It’s ok to take breaks. Walk away from a task or give yourself set time to do something for you.
  • Seek your own support whether this be professional or through friends/family as your needs arise.

Grounding Techniques:

Grounding techniques are simple ways to bring oneself into the present moment and help contain feelings of distress that may come up when hearing difficult information.

  • Use your senses: Out loud or to yourself, label five things you see; three things you hear; and one thing you can physically feel. Can you taste or smell anything right now?
  • Use your body: wiggle your toes; roll your shoulders; use small movements to remind yourself of your body in space.
  • Use your breath: inhale for a comfortable count (3-4 for many of us) and exhale for 4-6. Repeat. This activates your vagal nerve and calms your body and also helps center you in the moment.