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Holistic Wellness and Self-Care for Prevention Educators

Sexual assault prevention education is more than delivering a curricula or presentation. It can involve classroom management, responding to rape-myths and victim blaming questions, and addressing disclosures that come as a result of a presentation. Prevention educators risk burnout and vicarious trauma if they do not have a supportive working environment and practice self-care.

Self-care recommendations usually include getting enough sleep, practicing healthy eating and exercise habits, and finding time to debrief with others. It is easy to want to put our clients and our communities first, but if we are overwhelmed, stressed, sick, or experiencing any kind of trauma, we are of limited service to those we are trying to work with.

Here are some resources to help promote self-care and well-being for prevention and intervention staff alike:

The Breathe Network:
The Breathe Network is a resource and referral network that educates survivors of sexual violence and the general public about the unique benefits of holistic approaches to healing and connects survivors to practitioners who offer trauma-informed, mind-body-spirit oriented treatments in order to support integrated, sustainable healing.
Meditation: This link will bring you to the Yoga Journal collection of meditation techniques.

10 Self-care techniques from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Self-care assessments and tools from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work
– Highlighted worksheet: Avoiding compassion fatigue

From the Joyful Heart Foundation: This page has a list of holistic approaches and modalities that can be beneficial to preventionists as well as survivors. They include aromatherapy, breathwork, creative arts, creative expression, journaling & creative writing, massage & body work, meditation, and yoga

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others a book by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Self-Care Websites (list provided by the University of Buffalo School of Social Work)

Meditation, Yoga, Relaxation, Sleep

Gaiam Life Meditation Rooms
How to Meditate: Just Sit
Five minute relaxation and yoga sessions from your computer screen
Office stretches: How-to video collection
A series of 5 minute relaxation and “Yoga breaks”
Information on meditation and related topics
“Deep Green Sleep” free newsletter: resources on sleep, including CD with breathing exercises to help with sleep
Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief: Finding the Relaxation Exercises that Work for You

Stress Management, Health Care

Brief videos on aspects of stress and stress management
Variety of resources on stress management
Assess your level of stress
Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid tool

Psychological Issues, Self-Assessment, Burnout

Large variety of online self-assessment tools
Access and order the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Dr. Christina Maslach)
Health and mental health information, blogs, “Ask the Therapist” and more
American Psychological Association Help Center: Information on work and school, family and relationships, health and emotional wellness, publications, and more
Guide to mental health, psychology, and psychiatry online
Mental Health Matters: Mental health, self help and psychology information and resources
Social Work Search: Information on mental health, substance abuse, employment, practice, licensing, professional organizations, research methods and statistics, and more
Fried Social Worker: Provides resources, articles, strategies for preventing and addressing burnout in the Social Work profession

Trauma Information, Training, Professional Organizations

Figley Institute (Dr. Charles Figley): Training and continuing education programs for those who provide relief to emotionally traumatized individuals and communities: International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation Green Cross Academy of Traumatology Sidran Institute (Dr. Beth Stamm): Provides traumatic stress education, advocacy, resources, and training Provides resources and articles developed by David Baldwin, PhD on trauma and traumatic stress Adverse Childhood Events Study: Provides summaries of the ongoing results of the ACE Study.

Please see the CALCASA blog entry, “Our bodies tell the story of our emotional experience” for additional links and information about trauma-informed yoga and holistic health.