If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Home › Resources › Building a Self-Care Plan

Building a Self-Care Plan

Stress or anxiety are normal reactions to a traumatic event. Reactions can range from moderate to overwhelming for individuals directly impacted. Possible reactions one might experience include:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma (recurrent dreams of the event, flashbacks, and intrusive memories)
  • Feelings of uneasiness in situations that bring back memories of the trauma or event
  • Avoidance behaviour (such as persistent avoidance of things associated with the event)
  • Emotional numbing (feeling “not entirely present”, preoccupied, distracted)
  • Reduced interest in others and the outside world (avoiding others and disengaging from activities that normally bring enjoyment, fatigue)
  • Persistent increased arousal (constant watchfulness, irritability, jumpiness, being easily startled, outbursts of rage, insomnia)

These reactions are normal and are experienced when individuals are in abnormally distressing situations. While most people recover after acute traumatic events on their own or with the assistance of a mental health professional within weeks of the event, it is important to note that some individuals do not experience these reactions until later. In either scenario, it is important to acknowledge your reactions and seek appropriate support. 

Self-care techniques

·         Prioritize all personal safety and health needs.

·         Learn and practice controlled breathing methods (slow, relaxed breathing) to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety, fear, and panic. Avoid breathing too deeply or rapidly as this can cause physical symptoms of panic.

·         Get enough sleep.

·         Reduce caffeine intake to 300mg or less per day.

·         Learn and practice daily relaxation methods to reduce physical symptoms of tension.

·         Get regular exercise.

·         Identify and challenge exaggerated words and pessimistic thoughts.

·         Use evidence-based anxiety websites or self-help books. 

External resource

University of Buffalo’s Self-Care Starter Kit

Feedback Form

Hey, thanks for checking out this resource. After you’ve seen it, we’d love to learn a bit more about your interests and how you found us. Was the information what you looking for? Was it helpful? We’ll use any feedback you provide to further improve what we do. In appreciation, you’ll be automatically entered in a contest where you could win a cash prize or gift certificate. *


  • Completion of the form is voluntary.
  • The information collected by the Mental Health Commission of Canada will only be used for the purpose described above.
Are you willing to be contacted within 3 to 6 months for a short follow-up survey?
In case of “Yes” – please provide an email address


No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada age 13+ who are the intended recipient of an invitation to complete the Mental Health Commission of Canada survey and participate in the contest. Starts October 3, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. ET and ends March 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 6 prizes available: (i) 1 x $500 CAD online retailer gift certificate prize; and (ii) 5 x $50 CAD online retailer gift certificate prizes. Limit 1 entry per person/email. Odds depend on number of eligible entries. Math skill-testing question required. Click here to read Full rules and entry details.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Long before the pandemic, women were regularly forced to put their careers on the back burner. Whether caring for children or sick or elderly relatives, women were more likely than men to take on caregiving responsibilities that compete with their working life.

A conversation tool to help caregivers, parents, and guardians understand how to speak with children in their lives suicide when a suicide happens in the community or if someone they...