Community of Caring & Self-Care Strategies

Quick Stress-Relief & Relaxation Tips:

Change your scene

  • Get out of the office. Take a moment outside for fresh air.
  • Attend Rest with Music at lunch.
  • Bring beauty, art and music into your work area.

Change your focus

  • Create a project for people to share in small moments, alone or together, that develops something whole:
    • A mural, collage, flipchart paper with sticky notes of positive reflections, quotes, etc.
    • Find a common space within your unit for everyone to collaborate on a jigsaw puzzle together – when you need a break, put together some pieces of the puzzle.
  • Create an affirmation card to put up in your workspace, or to carry with you.
  • Watch a movie or Netflix show that helps you relax over your lunch hour, simply to unwind.
  • Turn off social media for a little bit. Sometimes social media can pull us into unnecessary stress, so turning it off can help us recenter during stressful or difficult times.

Tangible, fun personal supports

  • Collect soothing items for you and your colleagues to use such as worry stones, stress balls, and fidget spinners, or fun toys that make you smile.
  • Surround yourself with items that bring you joy – photos of friends, family or pets, or other little displays or tokens you can carry to help calm you down throughout your day.

Tips for Creating a Supportive Environment as a Leader:

  • Host office hours and make your schedule open for staff and faculty who need to discuss difficult topics. Remember listen without judgment; respond, don’t just react; respect privacy.
  • Work with the WorkLife Office to host a Reflect & Connect session within your unit.
  • Check in frequently with staff and faculty to foster support.
  • Host a yoga, Tai Chi or meditation session. Be sure to consider physical accessibility when arranging a special program.
  • Arrange a unitwide lunch or outing – this has the potential to bring people together and create community during stressful or difficult times.
  • Share resources for support with your team – including those available through the Employee Assistance Program and WorkLife Office.
  • Exercise flexibility to enable staff and faculty to implement strategies or attend supportive events and appointments. Refer to the guidelines for flextime and flexible work arrangements.

Fostering a Supportive Work Environment:

  • Send a coworker thanks, praise, an affirmation or positive note.
  • Invite a coworker to join you for lunch or to reconnect in a way that is positive for both of you.
  • If you know someone in your work world is struggling, ask them what might be helpful, how you might support them (if you are willing and able to), or simply send them a note to let them know you are thinking about them.
  • Be respectful of people’s differing needs in various circumstances.
  • Learn the resources available for support and use them, and refer colleagues to those resources.

Self-Care Strategies:

This list was originally created for the Reflect & Connect series by staff of the Employee Assistance Program. For the full list, download the PDF.

  • Deep breathing and 3breath rest – breathing is an essential part of re-centering during difficult times.
  • Move your body. Getting your heart rate up can be great for self-care.
  • Make space for your emotions. It is important to see that every emotion has a purpose and often a message.
  • Find community. Build a connection network – people you can have authentic conversations with.
  • Make yourself the priority. If you know you are not in a good space, reduce your schedule long enough to have some quiet down time.
  • Witness your energy. Notice your feelings, emotions and reactions and assess how to move forward from there – sometimes that means taking a break or doing something that can help shift your energy.