Trauma, Resilience and Self Care


Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. (American Psychological Association)

VICARIOUS RESILENCE involves the process of learning about overcoming adversity from the trauma survivor and resulting positive transformation and empowerment through their empathy and interaction.


Boundaries impact our everyday life both professionally and personally. Our boundaries are our life compass; they guide us.  We can adapt, change, or dismiss any of our boundaries at any time and should periodically check-in with ourselves to ensure our boundaries are serving us well and keeping safe.

  • Reflect on your current life situation.
  • Do you feel content most of the time?
  • Do you feel in control of your life?
  • Identify your personal and professional challenges and barriers.
  • Identify your personal and professional supports.
  • Are you confident you can overcome challenges and barriers in your personal and professional lives?
  • What do you need to feel safe, secure, and content?


  • Personal safety and confidence is supported by healthy boundaries which in turn promotes personal development and strengthens individual self-esteem and self-care.
  • Our communication styles and how they impact our experiences with others.
  • Challenging the imprints of our personal life experiences on our worldview.
  • Independence and responsibility including autonomy in decision making and goal setting.
  • Overcoming entrenched beliefs and rigid thinking.
  • Readiness and willingness to change.
  • Doing our part; collaborative supportive workplace relationships with colleagues and leadership.
  • Continue developing as a person through satisfying our needs.


  • The process of change through which people improve their health, their wellness, and begin to  live self-directed lives underpinned by their strengths and abilities.
  • Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
  • Identifying and acknowledging our feelings.
  • Embracing loss and grief; learning to let go.
  • Coping behaviors and their impacts on our relationships and quality of life.
  • Using our strengths to support personal growth and well-being.
  • Accepting our imperfections.
  • Practicing mindfulness.


  • Restoring the harmony and balance within ourselves that in turn radiates outwards in our speech, our behaviors, our mannerisms, our relationships, and our interactions with others and the greater world.
  • Promotes our well-being, our safety, our security, and enhances our self-esteem, our self-confidence, and our self-efficacy.
  • Enhances our resiliency.
  • Visualize your dreams for your life.
  • Write a mission statement that reflects your authentic self.
  • Create a visual five-year life plan that defines your vision for your life: include personal and professional goals.

Making Changes

  • Whenever you decide to make a change, you must first understand why you’re making the change in the first place.
  • Start by defining your core values and identify what is important to you.
  • You need to be able to identify what it is about your goal that adds to you as a person, that makes you feel better and more expansive.
  • If your goal aligns with your core values, then “the thought of it will trigger a positive gut feeling.“
  • Be kind to yourself.

Set Your Priorities

After identifying the things that are most important in your life, start eliminating everything else. Simplify your life, so that you can focus on the things that matter most to you

  • Eliminate “impulse buying”.  Plan and budget for all expenses and stick to it.
  • Prioritize basic needs
  • Set healthy limits (example: phone time, social media, television (Netflix), video games, etc.)
  • Make time to things you enjoy doing
  • Learn something new everyday
  • Be open minded – hear other people’s ideas and opinions
  • Spend time with healthy positive people
  • Stop complaining
  • Do the things that you do not like first and then you will have the rest of your day to do the things you enjoy


  • Talk back to your negative thoughts. If your friend told you she’d had an unproductive day, would you respond negatively or positively. Being harsh on yourself won’t help you achieve more.
  • Drop the word “should”. Keep an eye out for how often you say it and ask yourself if it’s making you feel better or worse. Is it something genuinely important to you? Who said you should do it? Do they know you better than you know yourself?
  • If you’re a news junkie, set a timer and allow yourself to read the news for an allotted period of time only. Our news has changed over the past few years and they’re designed to hook you in. Generally, we feel worse after watching story upon story of terror and bad news, so limit your exposure.

Do Things you Enjoy Every Day

  • Play or listen to music you enjoy.  Dance or sing along.
  • Laugh lots.
  • Do your hair in a style you love.
  • Wear clothes that make you feel good.
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you.”
  • Cry when you feel like crying.
  • Ask for what you need from others.
  • Connect with your spirituality.

TedX: Beyond the Cliff Laura Van Dernoot

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is the founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others and The Age of Overwhelm.

Watch the Video Here