Do self-care like a social worker

woman in her 40s exercising in her living roomAt Colorado State University’s School of Social Work, the vision we hold for our programs is to advance social, environmental, and economic justice, promote equity and equality, alleviate oppression, and enhance human health and well-being across local and global community systems.

That sounds like a tall order, but we attract amazing students who share these values and develop their careers around making a difference in local, national, and global communities. As a helping profession, social work seeks to help folks overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges, and social workers step in right alongside them without blinking.

So it should come as no surprise that self-care is an essential skill for social workers. Self-care allows social work practitioners to reduce stress, maintain good physical and mental health, and prevent burnout. Here are some tips for self-care so you too can survive and thrive like a professional social worker.

  • Eat healthy: Eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, and drink water. Minimize sugar, caffeine, and alcohol to regulate your mood and energy level.
  • Exercise regularly: There are lots of online tutorials to try fitness, yoga, Pilates, different styles of dance…and for all ages and abilities.
  • Sleep: Keep screens out of your bedroom and turn off an hour before going to bed. Establish a bedtime routine to relax so you can fall asleep.
  • Stay connected with others: When we are not able to go out, or need to keep a physical distance, use other ways to stay in contact, for example by phone, messaging, social media, video calls, group calls, writing letters, etc.

These are the things we all know we should be doing, but really need to be prioritized when life gets challenging. Research into resilience has found that the fundamental factor in common among participants was taking responsibility for looking after themselves. Now is the time to think about what you need and start putting those ideas into regular practice.

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.