What do social workers, humanitarian aid workers, substance abuse counselors, and palliative care nurses have in common? Well for one, these honorable professionals are particularly vulnerable to 1) burnout, 2) compassion fatigue and 3) secondary traumatic stress. People working in these roles need to be careful to take care of themselves. To avoid these vulnerabilities and to thrive over the long-term experts recommend to:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Reading novels
  3. Laugh well
  4. Eating Well
  5. Take time off
  6. Get plenty of sleep
  7. Build strong friendships
  8. Pick berries

“What?!” you shout, “Pick berries!?” Well, actually this is my own recommendation based on recent personal experienced. This passed week I have been experiencing a bit of stress. Summers are short in Sweden and I’m spending most of mine at the office preparing lesson plans and workshop material. Okay, maybe I am feeling sorry for myself. But this week I have found it particularly liberating to go out into my garden each morning and pick berries to supplement my granola/musli breakfast. I find there is something particularly therapeutic about picking berries, particular berries like raspberries that you can do without having to crawl around on your knees. It is a game of hide and seek that is natural and rewarding. There is little need to “postpone gratification” because you can enjoy as much as you want in the present (i.e. pick and eat) or freeze them for later. An hour of picking berries is good for the (my) soul. Add a little cream and sugar and the therapy value rises exponentially.