If you’re a social worker, care worker, or carer of a family member, the daily challenges that are part of your job can impact on your wellbeing. Practising excellent self-care is one of the most useful tools you can use to survive the industry. With our self-care survival tips, you can avoid burnout and continue making an invaluable contribution to your career or an individual who needs you.
Block off time for a break
Blocking off time for a break isn’t a setback that prevents you from doing more work. When you can dedicate 30 minutes of your day to reading a book or sitting peacefully, you’re refreshing your mental and physical state. Taking this time reduces burnout over the course of your working day and allows you to function better in your role.
Engage in mindfulness
Mindfulness is an opportunity to tune into how you’re feeling. Try starting your day with a 10-minute session where you sit with your thoughts. Rather than batting them away, recognize them and reflect on patterns you notice. Tuning into your thoughts gives you the chance to spot and tackle problems before they grow out of control.
Recognise your short-term achievements
When a case or client leaves you feeling overwhelmed, it’s difficult to lose sight of your short-term achievements. When you don’t spend time reflecting on those achievements, you may start to lose your enthusiasm for the process as a whole. End each week by dedicating a few minutes to acknowledge where you have made progress. When you do so, you’ll feel more motivated overall.
Start saying no
Ideally, all social workers and carers would have infinite amounts of time and energy. Acknowledging that this isn’t true and saying no more often allows you to become more effective across all your cases or the person you are supporting. Although you may struggle with the idea that you’re letting someone down, allowing yourself to be pulled in several different directions isn’t wise. In addition to this, recognise when you need to seek senior support or someone to talk to if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Tune in to your eating and drinking habits
Each time you eat or drink something, question whether it’s a substance that will benefit you later. If it’s sugary or salty rather than nutritious or balanced, question why you’re drawn towards it? Although the occasional treat won’t result in any harm, consistent reliance on junk food will deplete your energy levels and increase your health risks. Instead, prioritise those foods that result in a greater sense of wellness overall.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to create a support network of people who help you reach your working and personal goals. By following all these self-care tips, achieving a sense of balance that prevents burnout is possible.