The ‘ABC’ basic life support tool…A great tool for self-care

Many people may be familiar with the basic life support algorithm in health care of ‘ABC’ (Airway, Breathing, Circulation), used in resuscitation. This is a first-line assessment tool used for basic life support to determine and ensure that a patient is alive.

This technique can also be applied to ensure our own wellbeing as we care for ourselves, by bringing a stop moment where we can check back in with how our body is feeling.

We can get caught up in the pace and activity of our work or in the personal dynamics that distract us from having a sense or connection to ourselves. This living life with an outward focus has become the ‘norm’ for many.

It is however, quite possible for you to bring focus to yourself, to bring some self-care by using the ‘ABC’ approach. It can be done anytime, anywhere, whatever you are doing, to feel and bring your focus back to you and your body.

So if you ever find you have lost that sense or feeling of yourself, simply do the ‘ABC’…


  • Swallow, feel your throat – this brings a stop moment to all busy-ness you may be feeling.
  • Does it feel restricted or tight?


  • Check with the quality of your breath. Are you breathing fast or shallow? Or steady, gently and rhythmically?
  • Are you holding your breath or is it flowing?
  • Can you notice your breath moving in and out through your nose and into your lungs?
  • Are you breathing in and out through your nose or are you breathing through your mouth?

Circulation / Connection:

  • How is your body feeling? Are your shoulders raised or naturally lowered?
  • Are your muscles tense around your neck and back or is your chest open with your neck relaxed?
  • Have you become stressed, anxious and shut down with your heart ticking faster? Or are you calm and moving and doing things in a smooth and purposeful way?

Taking an ABC moment is like resuscitating yourself while you go about your daily activities.

The body responds to the Self-Care ABC by feeling more relaxed and at ease, particularly in the shoulders, neck and back; your breathing becomes more gentle and it is easier to focus and make decisions. You also feel less tired, tense, exhausted and drained, meaning that there is less need for stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks or sugary foods to recharge yourself.

Attention to your own ‘Self-Care ABC’ brings about moments that support you to reconnect to your body and not get caught up in the spin of life. It empowers you to feel that you can choose you in any situation. This is a simple powerful way to stay connected with you and care for yourself while you go about your day.

So you can ask yourself the question anytime . . . “Have I done my ABC today?”

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  • By Fiona Lotherington, Registered Nurse and Body Awareness/Esoteric Yoga Presenter.

    I have a passion for health and education. I love walking, singing, dancing, going to the gym, writing, cooking and sharing time with friends.

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  • Photography: Leonne Sharkey, Bachelor of Communications

    For Leonne photography is about relationships, reflection and light. She is constantly amazed by the way a photo can show us all we need to know.