Burnout Prevention, Stress Management and Self-care

Stress management and self-care for service providers and communities has been an important element of our work since we began our Helpline in 1996 and through the years.

In 2020, we launched Self-care Essentials: Resources for people doing people work, featuring ways to approach self-care, and resources to help those doing people work manage stress and prevent burnout.

In 2019, we conducted three needs assessment workshops focusing on stress management and burnout prevention, organised collaboratively by TARSHI and Nazariya in 2018, in North India at Delhi, in North-East India at Guwahati and in 2019 in South India at Hyderabad. Participants’ responses and the takeaway from these workshops is crucial to a qualitative and intuitive understanding of need and have been set out in this report in great detail. A report of these workshops and our learning can be downloaded from here.

Over the past two decades, our understanding of the importance of burnout prevention and stress management has evolved and we now recognise self-care as an oft-neglected but vitally important feminist issue. Here's a brief description of some of our work in the area of stress management and burnout prevention over the years:

In 2005, TARSHI convened a National Meeting of Helplines specifically on this topic and over the years have included the importance of recognising and preventing stress and burnout in our trainings and publications. We have constantly been exploring easy and effective tools for activists and counsellors working in resource-poor settings to help manage their own stress as well as those they work with.

In 2004, we were introduced to Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), through a workshop that was held for NGOs working specifically with cancer and HIV related health concerns. EFT is a form of ‘emotional acupuncture’ or meridian based therapy and recent studies in the West have shown its efficacy in stress reduction, and reduction in several other symptoms, including those of PTSD. We have successfully introduced it to community-based counsellors who are working on issues such as domestic violence, reproductive health etc. in India and in Nepal (in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes). We have been formally trained through the The Guild of Energists and Vitality Living College. To know more about Emotional Freedom Techniques, please click here.

TARSHI’s workshops highlight the importance of burnout prevention and self-care from the point of view of individuals, organisations, and movements that one may be a part of. The workshops address links between stress and burnout, as well as strategies for identifying and addressing stress in a timely manner given the limited resources of time and money at one’s disposal. We conduct announced as well as on-request trainings and workshops. A few organisations for which we have conducted such workshops/sessions are Jagori New Delhi, WOREC Nepal and ACCESS, New Delhi.

Some feedback that we received from the participants immediately after the training is given below:

  • This five day training has provided me with a new technique to balance the emotions, which I found is very effective. The technique called EFT. Not only that but the overall content was very helpful. The trainers  were excellent. We look forward for another training session. Thank you.
  • In today’s changing time, people are changing their stands, keep changing and the competition is increasing. These are leading to stress and burnout (which many do not know about), TARSHI is playing A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE in this regard. Techniques liked EFT is very useful in releasing stress and tensions. I would like to thank TARSHI for helping me realize my stress levels.
  • आज का सेशन बहुत ही अच्छा था। इतना अच्छा की कैसे दिन गुज़र गया पता ही नहीं चला। आज मैंने बर्नआउट  के बारे में इतनी गहराई से बात की! लकिन सबसे अच्छा मुझे जो लगा कि इस पूरे सेशन में पूरा दिन खुद के बारे में ही बात हुई जो मुझे बहुत अच्छी लगी। शायद ही कभी ऐसी कोई कार्यशाला मैंने अटेंड की थी जिसमें हमारे खुद के बारे में ही बात हो लेकिन आज मैं खुश हूँ। अपने को खुश और एनर्जेटिक रखने के आसान से तरीके सीखे! एनर्जी सिस्टम के बारे में सीखा तथा जाना! पूरी जो गतिविधियाँ इस कार्यशाला में आजकरवाई गई बहुत ही अच्छी लगी। मैं चाहूंगी कि तारशी इस तरह की कार्यशालाओं का आयोजन करे ताकि आगे आने वाले समय में कार्यशालाओं को स्ट्रेस फ्री किया जा सके।
  • आज के सेशन में बर्नआउट क्या है उसकी जानकारी मिली जिसे यहाँ से पहले मैं ‘भड़ास निकालना’समझ रही थी। बर्नआउट के कारण, लक्षण, प्रभाव तथा राहत के तरीके जाने। इसके अलावा अलग-अलग तकनीक जैसे EFT…ये सब मेरे लिए नया था और मैं इसका उपयोग करने की कोशिश करुंगी।

Some photographs of the workshops conducted in the recent past can be found here and here