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Dear volunteers,

We’re all aware that this is a particularly difficult humanitarian situation by which we’re all affected. But you, as volunteers who are regularly closely confronted to the refugees, need to also take care of yourself. For your own future and for that of the refugees who will need your help also in the next weeks to come: you need to take care of yourself!

The Long-term Risks of not practicing self-care???

Beyond not being able to provide the best possible help to refugees, can be Burnout which sets in gradually and the symptoms are not felt immediately ❌avoid saying “I’ll take care of myself later”; 💊 Prevention is better and easier than treatment.

Some Reminders:

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  1. Have regular breaks (i.e. set a timer of 90 Min).⏰

  2. Establish a fixed end for your shifts and try to stick to it⏱

  3. Find a group of 2-3 other volunteers, maybe friends or volunteers who started to help together with you and work together during your shifts: check-in with each other regularly, take over responsibility when one of you needs a break, remember each other to:

  4. Take time to eat and drink.🥛🍴

  5. Practice Relaxation-exercises: Take a walk around the block, sit in a quite place and meditate.🦋

  6. Ask for help when you’re struggling. We are building a network of psychotherapists who work on site at the Hbf and ZOB. Reach out to the Stadtmission which is organizing the psych help & ask coordinators to get in contact with the volunteering psychotherapists - and if you meet some of them and get the offer to talk to them, use the opportunity, because they might see more clearly then you how tired you seem🗣

  7. Be aware of your own emotional state: what are my  feelings and what are the feelings of the other person? 💡

🏘At home:

  1. Sleep enough 💤

  2. Distance yourself from work/volunteer-related communication (i.e. mute your phone)📱❌

  3. alk about your feelings and about the stressfull experiences/situations (initiate self-help groups for volunteers, talk to friends, family) 😓

  4. Keep Socializing👥


Take a step back and train the awareness of your current mental state and feelings:

  1. How do I feel? (rather than saying “I feel good/bad/ok, try to name the different emotions: like Anger, sadness, happiness,…)

  2. Are those my feelings or those of the other person?

  3. Do I accept my current mental state?

Stimulate your senses when feeling distressed:

  1. Taste and sense: Take a piece of ginger/mint-candy/effervescent tablets/spicy chewing-gum in your mouth;

  2. Touching: Take a massage/kneading/hedgehog-ball and move it around in your palm

  3. Smelling: Smell some perfume or another intense pleasant smell

  4. Hearing: listen for 10min to music or call a friend

  5. Seeing: Watch a video, look at some pictures or draw a picture

Calming skills:

  1. Solve a sudoku-/word-puzzle

  2. Relaxation Exercise: set a timer for 5 Min and Imagine in detail a garden only accessible to you where you can leave all your feelings and distressing thoughts.

  3. Take a walk where you concentrate on your breathing, e.g. breath 5 sec. in and 5 sec. out.

  4. Connect Head and Solar plexus: put your right hand on the back of your head and the left on your stomach and take a few deep breaths

💯You’re creating the future! Your help is needed! That’s why self-protection comes first❕

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