Parents. Teachers. Nurses. Doctors. Counsellors. Social workers. People who take care of people for a living heroically take on some of the most emotionally draining jobs out there.

Of course, the key to avoiding these negative side effects—other than quitting your job and moving to the Bahamas—is increasing your self-care strategies.

Here are 10 things to do:

Sign up for advocacy training.

Junior staff are more likely to suffer burnout and vicarious trauma than seasoned advocates. That may be because seasoned advocates have more knowledge and resources to rely on in their work. Continue to build connections and attend training whenever you can.

Set boundaries.

Advocacy is your work—may be your passion—but it is not your life. Institute a no-email-after-7 policy, turn your phone off on the weekends and do whatever you need to do to have a life outside of work.

Join a support group.

Learn from your peers and swap coping mechanisms in a group setting.

Recognize your triggers.

If you’re an advocate and a survivor, talking to other survivors and hearing their stories could be a trigger. Be prepared by learning some grounding techniques in “Stop a Flashback In Its Tracks.”

Go out for lunch.

Get out of the office at least once a day. Eat outside, shop on your lunch hour or take a lap around the building for a break.


A great stress reliever, working out keeps both body and mind fit.

Get creative.

Express yourself through journaling, painting, glass-blowing or any number of Groupon-inspired artistic endeavours.

Nourish your spirit.

Connect with something greater than yourself, whether that’s going to church, meditating or communing with nature.

Become a mentor.

Taking new advocates under your wing may sound like added work, but keep in mind, the more competent they become, the more they can take off your plate.

Remember your wins.

Keep a feel-good file where you store kudos and success stories. Take a peek whenever you start feeling like the work is hopeless.

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