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YOU are Worth It! - Self-Care is Essential

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

It is OK to put yourself first! In fact, you really should.

The work that we do as Mental Health professionals could not be more critical. Client needs continue to increase and are more complex as the resources to help facilitate positive change continue to dwindle. As what is expected from us increases, we must make a pointed effort and commitment to take care of ourselves.

A career as a Social Worker can be fulfilling, rewarding, and draining all at the same time. The work we do as Social Workers is essential that truly helps make the world a better place, making it a great career choice for those who dream of helping others. However, like every job, Social Work has its challenges. While there are many benefits to pursuing a career in Social Work, there are also many downfalls, including stress and burnout.

As a Social Worker, you might find yourself with a large amount of emotionally draining work. This can often make it hard to remember to care for yourself. However, pursuing small self-care habits that contribute to your needs and self-improvement can help you put forth your best work for the clients you have always dreamt of helping.

The Importance of Self-Care as a Social Worker

Self-care is essential for reducing stress, preventing burnout, and ensuring that you can provide your clients with the highest quality of work and service. When a social worker neglects to take care of their health and well-being, they are not the only ones who face the consequences: their clients will suffer, too.

Neglecting to care for yourself can lead to emotional burnout, energy depletion, and absentmindedness. When a Social Worker cannot fully concentrate on their client's situation, the consequences can be devastating. Social workers who neglect caring for themselves can face other consequences like career burnout and mental health issues. Self-care will look different for everybody, but there are a few essential habits that can get you started. They include:

  • Getting enough sleep. Sleep issues like insomnia have been linked to many mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety. Sleep is also crucial to maintaining a sharp and clear mind.

  • Take care of your physical health. Your mental health is considerably affected by your physical health. When your physical health is struggling, your mental well-being will begin to struggle, as well.

  • Spend some time with nature. Nature is a crucial player in reducing stress, so have a picnic in the park, take your dog for a walk, or go for a hike with a friend.

  • Give yourself a break. The human mind is not built to work 24/7. Setting boundaries in your life to ensure that you are able to take a break when needed and knowing when to say no is crucial to preventing stress and burnout.

  • Food Intake. Oftentimes a simple, small change in food intake could have positive, long-lasting effects on our physical and emotional well-being.

The Importance of Self-Improvement as a Social Worker

Self-care often includes self-improvement. Focusing on improving your skills in the things you are passionate about can keep you feeling motivated, fulfilled, and contribute to your overall happiness.

As a social worker, self-improvement often includes professional development continuing education. Continuing your education will help you ensure that you can provide your clients with high-quality work and stay up to date on the most recent findings in your field. In fact, continuing education is so essential to social work that The National Association of Social Workers has developed guidelines for continued education.

When you are working with your clients, you will likely find yourself wanting to encourage them to take steps to improve their overall well-being. It is ok to put yourself first! We are less effective in helping our client's wellness if we are not taking care of our own. This is yet another reason that self-care is such a crucial step to being the best social worker you can be.

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