This is a very demanding situation, so self-care is more important than ever! If you feel stressed or panicked, reach out to others and take a break❤️
Taking a break might not feel good since you probably feel the urge to help as much and as long as you can. We get this. But please, take care of yourself as well. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
We’re all aware that this is a particularly difficult humanitarian situation by which we’re all affected. But you, as volunteers who are regularly closely confronted with the refugees, need to also take care of yourself.
- Have regular breaks (i.e. set a timer of 90 Min) ⏰
- Establish a fixed end for your shifts and try to stick to it ⏱
- Find a group of 2-3 other volunteers, maybe friends or volunteers who started to help together with you and work together during your shifts: check-in with each other regularly, take over responsibility when one of you needs a break, remember each other to:
- Take time to eat and drink.🥛🍴
- Practice Relaxation-exercises: Take a walk around the block, sit in a quiet place and meditate. 🦋
- Ask for help when you’re struggling. We are building a network of psychotherapists who work on-site at the Hbf and ZOB. Reach out to the Stadtmission which is organizing the psych help & ask coordinators to get in contact with the volunteering psychotherapists - and if you meet some of them and get the offer to talk to them, use the opportunity, because they might see more clearly then you how tired you seem 🗣
- Be aware of your own emotional state: what are my feelings and what are the feelings of the other person? 💡
🏠 At Home
- Sleep enough 💤
- Distance yourself from work/volunteer-related communication (i.e. mute your phone) 📵
- Talk about your feelings and about the stressful experiences/situations (initiate self-help groups for volunteers, talk to friends, family) 😓
- Keep Socializing 👥
- How do I feel? (rather than saying “I feel good/bad/ok”, try to name the different emotions: like Anger, sadness, happiness,…)
- Are those my feelings or those of the other person?
- Do I accept my current mental state?
- Taste and sense: Take a piece of ginger/mint-candy/effervescent tablets/spicy chewing-gum in your mouth;
- Touching: Take a massage/kneading/hedgehog-ball and move it around in your palm
- Smelling: Smell some perfume or another intense pleasant smell
- Hearing: listen for 10min to music or call a friend
- Seeing: Watch a video, look at some pictures or draw a picture
Place your left hand on your belly. Breath in through your nose, and feel your belly widen. Breath out through your mouth and make a sigh sound. If you want, you can take two fingers of your right hand (while you continue breathing deeply) and tap lightly on your chest on your sternum.)
Be also aware of where in your mouth your tongue is. When under stress, people tend to "glue" their tongue to their palate. But it's supposed to rest in your lower jaw and not touch your teeth. When relaxed and your mouth is closed, your lips touch, but not your teeth. To practice this, imagine your falling asleep on a train and your head bends forward.
Please be aware of your shoulders as well. Bring them up to your ears and make a circle movement so that you can relax them. Take your arms above your head for 2 minutes and stretch.
There is something called co-regulation. If one person is stressed and the other one isn't or is less stressed, with touch, they can help each other to calm down. Due to Covid long hugs (consent given, always ask before touching anyone!) are not the best solution. You can just stand back to back and breath together. Up to 4 minutes should be enough. Tell people thank you from time to time. Be vocal, what you observe. And what you like about them and that they are appreciated ♡