Caring for Yourself, Caring for Others

Empowering Caregivers with Self-Care for a Healthier Family

Personal Maintenance: Self-Care, Why and How

The Consequences of Personal Neglect

  • Irritability
  • Perceived stress
  • Violating your own standards of behavior
  • Impulsive decision making
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Weakened immune system
  • Disrupted placements due to burnout (physical or mental collapse)
  • Compassion fatigue/vicarious trauma (indifference to those who are suffering or even cynicism/blaming them for their own suffering).

Predisposing Factors for Vicarious Trauma

  • Personal history of trauma
  • Social isolation
  • Tendency to avoid feelings or blame others
  • Difficulty expressing feelings
  • Lack of preparation for the role
  • Lack of experience in the role
  • No break from the trauma of others
  • No one to talk to about this exposure to the trauma of others

What Helps?

  1. Focus on the big picture (deep reflection), not the day-to-day minutia
  2. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. It sucks your energy to pretend otherwise. Monitor your
    1. Lack of motivation
    2. Fatigue
    3. Irritability
    4. Distractibility
    5. Isolation
    6. More frequent illnesses
  3. Take steps to improve your mood/self-regulation by
    1. Psychological detachment (take a 5-minute break from thinking about the kids 5 times/day)
    2. Retreat to a restorative environment (where you can feel safe). One that offers
      1. Being away (far from the source of your stress)
      2. Immersion (big enough to lose yourself in it for a while)
      3. Engagement (keeps your attention, preferable green with a bit of water, a park will do!)
      4. Compatibility (I like to take in the colors and odors of the forest, so I walk slowly. You may like to jog or run in this environment. My daughter would zipline!)
  4. Thoughts that remind yourself of the decent person you know yourself to be (A reflection on What Went Well today)
  5. Thoughts about what you know to be truly important (A moment of gratitude)
  6. Make sleep a priority
  7. Stress Management strategies
    1. 3 deep breaths
    2. Meditation (10 minutes, 3 times/week)
    3. Share the burden with others who understand and share your commitment
  8. More fresh fruits and vegetables
  9. Exercise (just a brisk walk around the block to get your heart rate up may help)
  10. Routines that minimize the number of decisions you have to make on the fly

The Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents | AZAFAP

Self-Care Tips for Foster Parents Self-Care Skills and Strategies for Foster Parents

  • Physical self-care (diet and exercise)
  • Psychological self-care (reflection and curiosity)
  • Emotional self-care, (friends and recreation)
  • Spiritual self-care (prayer and meditation) and
  • Workplace self-care (breaks and workload)

The Annie E. Casey Foundation |

Taking Care of Yourself: Tips for Foster and Resource Parents

  • Resilience: Be strong, even when you’re stressed
  • Social connections: Get and give support
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development: Learn more so you can parent better
  • Concrete support in times of need: Get help when you need it
  • Children’s social emotional competence: Help your child manage

Center for the Study of Social Policy |

Self-care is important because it helps re-establish balance and avoid burnout. It is often the mechanism of recalibrating and getting in touch with our ability to play, have fun, relax, and connect. — Sabrina Romanoff, PSYD

Behavioral Health Mental Wellness | Aetna Medicaid

If you or someone you know has a mental health emergency, call, text or chat 988. This is the number for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, trained counselors can help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Stamp Out Stigma

About Us

Kentucky's Just in Time Training is a web based service program designed to connect foster parents, kinship or other caregivers with training, peer experts and other resources. Questions are answered and practical solutions to care for children are discussed - all from the comfort of your home or office.


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