Core Modules

module 2 | Activity 16: Adopting self-care strategies

Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of mental, emotional, and physical health.[1, 2] It starts with the recognition that people have multiple personal dimensions to attend to in order to live a “good” life[3], including:[1]

Physical What is happening to my state of health and wellbeing?
Emotional How do I feel during and after I finish work?
Cognitive How do I make sense of my experiences at work?
Relational How has work affected my relationships (family, friends)?
Spiritual How have my faith and personal meanings changed?

Strategies for personal self-care include:[4-7]

  • Prioritising relationships including those with family and close friends
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by ensuring adequate sleep, regular exercise, and time for holidays
  • Participating in recreational activities and hobbies
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Pursuing spiritual development
  • Ensuring that you have pleasurable activities scheduled regularly
  • Maintaining a routine
  • Exercising regularly
  • Learning relaxation techniques and practicing them regularly
  • Having goals – both at work and personally
  • Accepting the feelings that often come up working with people who are dying.

Consider the following expert opinion on adopting self-care strategies:

  1. What self-care strategies can you draw on when caring for people affected by life-limiting illness?
  2. What strategies can you use to support other members of the healthcare team?
  1. CareSearch. Self-Care. 2017  June 06, 2017]; Available from:
  2. Rizo-Baeza, M., et al., Burnout syndrome in nurses working in palliative care units: An analysis of associated factors. J Nurs Manag, 2018. 26(1): p. 19-25.
  3. Chittenden, E.H. and C.S. Ritchie, Work-life balancing: challenges and strategies. J Palliat Med, 2011. 14(7): p. 870-4.
  4. Sanchez-Reilly, S., et al., Caring for oneself to care for others: physicians and their self-care. J Support Oncol, 2013. 11(2): p. 75-81.
  5. Kamal, A., et al., Burnout among palliative care clinicians in the United States: Results of a national survey. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2014. 32(15_suppl): p. e20530-e20530.
  6. Mills, J., T. Wand, and J. Fraser, Self-Care in Palliative Care Nursing and Medical Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2017.
  7. RACGP. Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners. 2018  [cited 2018 August 17, 2018]; Available from: