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30/03/2023  •  Blog

Ways to build and strengthen emotional resilience in social work

We understand that, along with being a rewarding career, social work can also be challenging at times. This makes emotional resilience an incredibly valuable quality to build and strengthen. 

In this article, we have outlined everything you need to know about emotional resilience in social work. We have looked at how social workers can strengthen their emotional resilience as well as ways in which organisations should support their social workers so that they can continue to thrive and grow in their careers. 

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is the ability to manage problems and difficult situations in a way that prevents them from negatively affecting your wellbeing and progression.  

When you’re emotionally resilient, you have the strength to let adversity inform the way you approach situations going forward. It helps you in being able to take a step back and gain insight into how difficult situations shape your own identity, along with what you have to offer to others. 

Why is emotional resilience important in social work?

As a social worker, you will often work closely with people who are experiencing difficulties. As you help in the management of these challenging situations, it is important that you are able to support yourself and the professionals around you, while also being able to positively influence and advocate for service users during these difficult moments. 

Emotional resilience also helps you to reduce your stress and grow in confidence. This in turn can positively impact both the service users and colleagues that you work with. It can also help you to communicate effectively and be able to quickly move on from any setbacks that happen as you work.  

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.

How to build and develop emotional resilience

Many different methods can help you to build emotional resilience in social work. Some will incorporate learning new strategies and techniques. Over time, as you practice these new skills in your day-to-day work and strengthen your emotional resilience, it will become a benefit to you, both professionally and personally.  

Here are some tried-and-tested methods for increasing emotional resilience: 

Create a strong support network

Spend time with people who you can mutually exchange support with. This is also referred to as peer support, which is a social exercise involving someone who is in a similar role or position to you. During these moments, take the time to listen to the issues that each of you is dealing with before shifting focus to help one another find solutions and set goals. 

Set clear boundaries outside of work

A good work-life balance is crucial for preventing burnout. Of course, your passion for your work will mean that you want to do your best and sometimes, a situation may arise where you go above and beyond. However, it is important to understand how much you are capable of with the time and resources you have. It will help you in many aspects of your life to take accountability and learn how to say no to anything you can’t realistically commit to. If you have to ask for support in order to meet certain expectations of the role, don’t be afraid to bring others in and work together. 

Read our blog to gain further advice and information on preventing burnout in the workplace

Practise self-care

You will need to have compassion for yourself in order to accept the things that are out of your control. If you have high expectations of yourself, you may be prone to struggling when things don’t go as planned.  

Cognitive behavioural techniques can be valuable in helping you to turn negative self-talk into more productive thought patterns. This starts with understanding and replacing the deep-rooted beliefs you hold about yourself, your abilities and the world around you. 

If you are looking for ways to take better care of yourself, read our blog containing self-care tips for a healthier and happier you.  

How organisations can support social workers in strengthening emotional resilience

Emotional resilience isn’t something that social workers should have to learn and cultivate by themselves. Employers are responsible for their employees’ wellbeing, so it is important that they can provide tools, processes and an environment that allows for emotional resilience.  
Here are some of the ways in which employers can promote and strengthen emotional resilience:

Reflective practices

Reflective practices enable you to look back on your work and develop confidence, self-awareness and autonomy. Employers can help by setting up reflective spaces that encourage team reflection and support. These reflective sessions can help to develop ideas through gained insight and learning, which in turn can help to improve and influence your social work practice.

A secure team culture

It is important that you feel that you are in a safe space when developing emotional resilience at work. Your employer can support you by creating a culture where there is no judgement, but plenty of active listening. And while it is important to feel comfortable in your working relationships, you should still be given the space to meet challenges. With the right foundations in place from your employer, this can help you to feel confident in how to manage risks or understand potential outcomes. 

Modelling resilience

Your employer will need to establish ways of working that let you and your team flourish together. This will mean setting the standards for building trust and committing to shared goals, as well as collaborating on any challenges that occur. 

Throughout your work, you should also be recognised for your individual strengths. When everyone feels encouraged to contribute their unique skills, this will result in a strong and supportive team that grows and learns together. 

Social work opportunities with Liquid

If you’re looking for new social work job opportunities, Liquid can support you at every stage. 
Your career matters to us. Our caring consultants will take the time to understand your professional goals and individual strengths in order to help you find your perfect next role. You will even have a dedicated consultant, who will be there to support you from the day you sign up with us. 
Browse our current social work vacancies and get in touch today to find out how Liquid can help you progress in your social work career. 

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