Department of Family Services – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

703-324-5730
TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035

Toni Zollicoffer,
Director

Volunteer Voices – Self-Care: Practice Practical Self-Care

Volutneer Voices newsletter graphic image of conversation clouds, announcement horn, speaker microphone

A fact of life is there will always be stress. But the more we plan for stressful times, the less they will smack us unexpectedly, wreaking havoc on our emotional well-being. One way to prepare for stress is to practice practical self-care—engaging in activities that fulfill the core aspects of your life to prevent future stressful situations.

This form of self-care means being proactive instead of reactive. When we are in reactive mode, we do not plan to perform tasks or meet objectives until we are asked or a situation becomes urgent. It can be difficult to meet deadlines when we’re in reactive mode, and the least successful time management technique is dealing with whatever comes up.

You can be proactive by creating a self-care toolkit. Two versions of this kind of kit are below. Choose the one that works best for you.

person at park laying on blanketSelf-care Toolkits

Physical Toolkit

  • Gather your favorite self-care items. These will be personalized for you, but could include items such as snacks, water, aromatherapy oils, a book of quotes, music, lotion, candles, a soft blanket.
  • Place your items in an easy to access location, perhaps a basket next to your desk.
  • Choose items that focus on your senses. What things bring you comfort when you see, hear, smell, taste or touch them?
  • Remember to restock.

Backup Plan Toolkit

  • Do your favorite self-care activities, whether that’s heading to the library, people watching at a local park, taking a long walk or any activity that brings you joy.
  • Decide what activity you’re going to do, who will be with you and where you will go.
  • Write it down if necessary.
  • These activities can be planned (I will feed ducks by the pond every Saturday afternoon) or spontaneous (I will pull out my adult coloring book whenever the need arises).

Remember: Those who balance living in the moment and planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress.


This article posting is part of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services' Volunteer Voices monthly newsletter for current and potential volunteers. If you're not already a volunteer, learn how to get involved. Find out about upcoming trainings, volunteer trainings, happenings around the DSVS office and information about articles, books, media recommendations and more.

Learn more about the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS).

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