Self-Care Assessment

Adapted from Saakvitne, Pearlman, & Staff of TSI/CAAP (1996). Transforming the pain: A workbook on vicarious traumatization. Norton.

The following worksheet for assessing self-care is not exhaustive, merely suggestive. Feel free to add areas of self-care that are relevant for you and rate yourself on how often and how well you are taking care of yourself these days.

When you are finished, look for patterns in your responses. Are you more active in some areas of self-care but ignore others? Are there items on the list that make you think, "I would never do that"? Listen to your inner responses, your internal dialogue about self-care and making yourself a priority. Take particular note of anything you would like to include more in your life.

Rate the following areas according to how well you think you are doing:

3 = I do this well (e.g., frequently)
2 = I do this OK (e.g., occasionally)
1 = I barely or rarely do this

0 = I never do this
? = This never occurred to me

Physical Self-Care

____ Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

____ Eat healthily
____ Exercise
____ Get regular medical care for prevention

____ Get medical care when needed
____ Take time off when sick
____ Get massages
____ Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other fun physical activity

____ Take time to be sexual - with myself, with a partner

____ Get enough sleep

____ Wear clothes I like

____ Take vacations

Psychological Self-Care

____ Take day trips or mini-vacations
____ Make time away from telephones, email, and the Internet
____ Make time for self-reflection
____ Notice my inner experience - listen to my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, feelings
____ Have my own personal psychotherapy
____ Write in a journal
____ Read literature that is unrelated to work
____ Do something at which I am not expert or in charge
____ Attend to minimizing stress in my life
____ Engage my intelligence in a new area, e.g., go to an art show, sports event, theatre

____ Be curious

____ Say no to extra responsibilities sometimes 

Emotional Self-Care

____ Spend time with others whose company I enjoy

____ Stay in contact with important people in my life

____ Give myself affirmations, praise myself
____ Love myself

____ Re-read favorite books, re-view favorite movies
____ Identify comforting activities, objects, people, places and seek them out

____ Allow myself to cry
____ Find things that make me laugh
____ Express my outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests 

Spiritual Self-Care

____ Make time for reflection
____ Spend time in nature
____ Find a spiritual connection or community
____ Be open to inspiration
____ Cherish my optimism and hope
____ Be aware of non-material aspects of life
____ Try at times not to be in charge or the expert
____ Be open to not knowing
____ Identify what is meaningful to me and notice its place in my life

____ Meditate
____ Pray
____ Sing
____ Have experiences of awe
____ Contribute to causes in which I believe
____ Read inspirational literature or listen to inspirational talks, music 

Relationship Self-Care

____ Schedule regular dates with my partner or spouse

____ Schedule regular activities with my children
____ Make time to see friends
____ Call, check on, or see my relatives

____ Spend time with my companion animals
____ Stay in contact with faraway friends
____ Make time to reply to personal emails and letters; send holiday cards

____ Allow others to do things for me
____ Enlarge my social circle
____ Ask for help when I need it
____ Share a fear, hope, or secret with someone I trust

Workplace or Professional Self-Care

____ Take a break during the workday (e.g., lunch)
____ Take time to chat with co-workers
____ Make quiet time to complete tasks
____ Identify projects or tasks that are exciting and rewarding

____ Set limits with clients and colleagues

____ Balance my caseload so that no one day or part of a day is “too much”

____ Arrange workspace so it is comfortable and comforting
____ Get regular supervision or consultation
____ Negotiate for my needs (benefits, pay raise)

____ Have a peer support group
____ (If relevant) Develop a non-trauma area of professional interest

Overall Balance

____ Strive for balance within my work-life and work day
____ Strive for balance among work, family, relationships, play, and rest

(Retrieved 8/6/2010 from and adapted by Lisa D. Butler, Ph.D.)