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14/09/2023  •  Blog, Career centre

Self-care tips for social workers

The social work profession can be incredibly rewarding. Over the course of your career, you’ll empower many people to enjoy more independence, inclusion, stability and safety.

Yet there are aspects of social work that can be difficult to deal with. This is why self-care for social workers is so important.

From mindful practices to physical habits and good quality rest, we’ve put together a list of self-care tips and strategies to help you look after your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as a social worker, so that you feel fully equipped to drive positive change and confidently move forward in your career.

Self-care tips and strategies for social workers

Practise mindfulness

Mindful practices have a lot of advantages. Bringing your attention to the present moment can help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It relaxes your mind and body so that you’re more capable of managing stress, without being reactive to the goings-on in your day or the actions of other people.

Quietly checking in with yourself can be done anywhere. It doesn’t have to be as formal as sitting down to meditate; although if you have the time and space to do so, this can help to formalise the ritual by giving it a specific setting and adopting a relaxing posture. Notice what’s happening around you, observing thoughts rather than getting caught up in them. This will help you to feel more in control of your work and life in general. You’ll then feel calmer throughout your day.

Mindful.org contains useful tips and simple guided meditations to help you get started.

Breathing techniques can also help you to focus on something other than your thoughts. When you’re feeling anxious, try box breathing. This involves slowly and deeply inhaling for four seconds, right down into your stomach, then holding for four seconds, before exhaling for four seconds and holding for another four seconds.

Alternate nostril breathing is another good technique for settling the mind and reducing stress. This consists of breathing through one nostril while holding the other closed, then changing nostrils and repeating.

Schedule regular social connection

When we’re busy, socialising can feel like the last thing we’re able to commit to. In a profession as demanding as social work, spending quality time with the people in our lives can be pushed even further down the list of priorities.

It’s crucial to connect with others as often as possible. It combats feelings of loneliness, which not only harms our mental health but contributes to physical health problems too. Socialising also cultivates a sense of belonging, helping us feel secure and supported.

By having communities and safe spaces where we feel accepted, we have a chance to share our experiences, grow our trust in others and cement our place in the world.

Browse our social work job vacancies

As the leading social work recruitment agency in the UK, Liquid has hundreds of jobs in social work available. Browse our vacancies and apply today.

Write down your thoughts

There are huge benefits to journalling, starting with the fact that it helps you to make sense of your thoughts. Developing a regular practice allows you to carve out dedicated time for processing your daily experiences so that you can move forward with a clearer mind.

Writing down any worries can also significantly lighten your mental load. This is a valuable practice to maintain at any time but give your inner anxieties particular attention if you’re going through a stressful period. Allow internal dilemmas the space to breathe and work through them as often as you need to.

Look after your physical health

Taking care of your physical health will also help you enhance your wellbeing. Whether you’re looking after your diet with nourishing foods, practising yoga or removing tension from your body with a massage, it pays to show your body some attention.

Regular exercise is also recommended as it will not only help you to feel stronger and combat illness, but it also reduces stress, boosts your self-esteem and increases your sense of motivation. Spending time outdoors will deepen the positive effects of exercise too, as you’ll get to enjoy fresh air, sunlight and the benefits of being in nature, so try and combine these as often as possible.

Prioritise rest

Self-care for social workers is underpinned by adequate rest. At both home and at work, it’s vital to ensure that you’re getting enough downtime.

Essential for both productivity and your health, true rest starts with establishing a healthy sleep routine. You’ll also need to take regular breaks at work, as often as you can manage. No matter how busy you are, having at least ten minutes to yourself will help you to function more effectively and greatly reduce stress.

Also put time in your calendar for yourself, blocking out space each week free from any commitments to anyone else. Alternatively, you can recharge in other ways, such as disconnecting from the online world by reading a book or engaging in at least ten minutes of meditation.

Social work jobs with Liquid

At Liquid, we’ll guide you through your social work job search every step of the way.

We have strong working relationships with over 150 social work organisations in the UK. This means you get access to a huge variety of temporary and permanent opportunities. Whatever your strengths, career goals and previous experience, we’ll match you with your ideal role.

Register with Liquid today to speak to one of our dedicated specialists.

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