According to Civil Beat, social workers sometimes find themselves needing the same help they provide to clients. That's because social workers are human too. Bodies need sleep, food, oxygen, and more. When the body doesn't get those essential needs, it can't perform. Same goes for your mental health. Assisting clients can deplete your tank until you're running on fumes.
Here are three tips to help you avoid career burnout:
- Establish boundaries. You're one person. While you likely have a big heart with the best intentions, you still have limits. Whether you live alone or have a family to take care of, you first have to take care of yourself and that requires boundaries. Boundaries may include caseload volume or what time you put down that manilla folder and call it a night. Social workers often have hours that bleed over into evenings and weekends, but account for that time and take a comp day to keep your life balanced. Be an advocate for you!
- Have some fun. You may feel guilty for taking a break, but you deserve and it. Many jobs are stressful, but social workers get into deep life stuff sometimes, so it's okay to step away and take a breath. Taking a walk to get fresh air, listening to a favorite song, watching a funny YouTube video, or getting a coffee can help give you a short mental break to recalibrate and relax during the day. During non-work hours, actually schedule a fun activity. Indulge yourself. Maybe that's getting a pedicure or going to the driving range. Do something for you that you really enjoy.
- Keep a journal. Writing down your victories and even disappointments can help you celebrate the accomplishments and vent some natural work frustration. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help release tension and later help you remember what you want to get done.
Social workers are special people. They have a unique way with others and are resourceful beacons of light for those who most need it. To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
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