#2 A model of self-care

Dear Lee Woo Sing students,

With the current situation in Hong Kong, many of us may be feeling exhausted. I recently came across a model that describes six areas of life where people can evaluate to see if they taking good care of themselves (Saakvitne & Pearlman, 1996), and I would like to share it with you.

Physical Self-Care: Are you eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, taking time off when sick, and getting medical care if needed?

Psychological Self-Care: This includes making time away from the phone and Internet, writing in a journal, saying no to extra responsibilities, engaging in a new area of interest (e.g., art/sport/theatre), and seeking professional psychological help if needed.

Emotional Self-Care: Are you spending time with people you love, reading and watching your favorite books and movies, going to your favorite places, allowing yourself to cry when sad, finding things that make you laugh, and affirming/praising yourself enough?

Spiritual Self-Care: Do you make time to reflect, identify what is meaningful in life, spend time in nature, meditate, pray, read and watch inspirational books and movies, and have some form of spiritual connection or community?

Relationship Self-Care: This includes making time to stay in touch with old friends, sharing a fear, hope or secret with someone you trust, and giving and receiving help when needed.

Workplace/Professional Self-Care: Do you take a break during the school/work day, chat with co-workers and classmates, make quiet time to complete tasks, arrange your work space to make it comfortable, and consult with peers and supervisors?

Of course, the goal is not to overburden yourself with self-care activities. Also, not all the listed activities may be applicable to everyone. But if you notice one or more of these areas that are especially lacking, perhaps you can consider ways to enhance wellbeing by paying attention to the suggested items.

Wishing you all well in the new academic year!


Harold Chui

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Associate Dean of Students, Lee Woo Sing College


Saakvitne, K. W., Pearlman, L. A., & Abrahamson, D. J. (1996). Transforming the pain: A workbook on vicarious traumatization. New York: WW Norton.