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Good Samaritans Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide
Top navigation About This Guide Message From the Director Acknowledgments About the Authors Related Links
Photo: Man and woman looking out of a broken window.

Publication Date: April 2009

minus iconFilling a Void—Origins of the Program
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minus iconVolunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

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minus iconModule 2: The Victim Experience
minus iconModule 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers
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Module 5: Self-Care

The Big Picture

It is easy to get caught up in the rat race, but sometimes we need to stop and look around. What gives our lives meaning? What do we want to do to achieve a meaningful life?

Define your lifetime goals by asking yourself, "How would I spend the next 5 years if I had the resources to do anything I wanted?"

Now look at how you spend your time on a daily basis, and examine how your activities reflect your sense of purpose in life.

The greater the discrepancy, the more likely you will be to experience stress. Reconciling your meaning system to your daily activity may involve either altering your "life meaning system" or changing your activities.

Where Do I Begin?

Start by identifying your current stress level. Evaluate and improve your coping abilities. Identify areas that need work, formulate a plan to correct deficiencies, and then implement it. The changes you make are worth the effort; they may literally add years to your life.

Symptoms of Severe Stress: A Checklist

How many of the following symptoms apply to you?

Confusion in thinking

Difficulty making decisions

Less able to concentrate

Calculation problems



Emotional shock/numbness

Feeling overwhelmed

Heightened anxiety

Loss of emotional control



Excessive sweating

Loss of appetite or increase in appetite

Rapid heart rate

Elevated blood pressure

Rapid, shallow breathing

Changes in ordinary behavior patterns

Decreased personal hygiene

Increased or decreased association
      with fellow workers

Withdrawal from others/apathy

"The Burnout Club"—Membership Rules

1. Be inflexible—never change your mind about anything.
2. Be responsible for everyone's feelings.
3. Never say "NO."
4. Never take time off.
5. Live on fast food, and always eat at your desk or on the run.
6. Set impossibly high standards for yourself and everyone else.
7. Do it all yourself. Never delegate.
8. Be indispensable.
9. Work as many hours as possible.
10. Turn everything into a competition and always go for the win.
11. Never find the humor in any situation.
12. Always get involved in multiple projects.
13. Be overly critical of yourself and others.
14. Never ask for help.
15. Make your achievements more important than anything else.