Social work, as we all know, can be exhausting. Because the social worker is, in one aspect, a caregiver; in another a therapist, and in another, a stand in for a family member; being all things at once to clients, while also filling the demands of his or her own life, often can be overwhelming. Burn out may be just around the corner.
For the social worker who is feeling not so social lately due to the need for a vacation, here are a few tips to keep you social with your clients:
- Breathe. Take a few seconds when walking down the hallway, sitting at the desk or before going to see the next client and inhale. And then exhale. A very big inhale and exhale really does help to clear your mind!
- Time Out. In every life, no matter what the occupation, a time out from all of the challenges and stressors will enable you to refresh and rejuvenate. It could be as simple as sitting a few extra minutes in the driver’s seat of the car when you pull in the driveway and listening to the radio, taking a bubble bath, reading, or just sitting on the back porch and losing yourself in your own thoughts. It doesn’t have to be a long time out but disengaging yourself from the world for even five minutes is a good mind relaxer.
- Stay Optimistic. While there will inevitably be bad moments, remember that there are a lot of good ones.
- Talk to others in your profession. Talking to people who share our cares, worries, and challenges helps to avoid feeling alone. Even a 30 minute chat with a likeminded individual clears your head and reduces outside tension.
- Motivation. Self-motivating comes in many ways, whether it be rewarding yourself with a special prize at the end of the day or promising yourself a special trip after an accomplishment. “This too shall pass” is a good phrase to repeat when the going gets tough. And, as simple as it may sound, smiling will not only help those around you but is good therapy for you as well.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! If you are feeling “not so social” these days… get social! Either with yourself or with like-minded professionals; take some time for you and before you know it passion will creep back in and the challenges will seem much lighter to bear.
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