5. Self-care

Watch this short video about self-care in social work: Self-care for Social Workers

It is not unplanned that this training finishes on the topic of self-care. The topics and issues discussed throughout the four modules you have worked through have not always been easy, and you have been challenged to question your own practice, your own position and how you could/would respond to some of the most complex circumstances that social workers come across. There are a number of strategies that have been highlighted by social workers who have experience of working in disasters that have supported them through the experience, including:

  • Checking in on yourself – taking the time, at least once a day, to ask yourself how you are doing, and if you are not doing well, trying to identify why that is
  • Make use of employer support – the previous section raised the importance of challenging your employer to provide you with sufficient support. However, you also have a responsibility to make use of this support
  • Maintain your personal routine – this includes hobbies, engaging with friends and sleeping
  • Use tools and techniques that work for you – consider, for example, exercising, mindfulness, the use of humour or writing reflective records

It can be difficult to engage in self-care or come up with ideas for self-care when working in disaster contexts. Therefore, you are encouraged to develop a self-care plan and to have this ready to draw on if you are ever working in disasters (or really if you are experiencing any sort of difficult or challenging time in your social work role). This can include information about your support network that you can draw on for support (colleagues, friends, family), strategies for managing the difficult circumstances (hobbies, meditation, reflection), information about support you will require from your employer (caseload relief, allocated buddy support, debriefing sessions) or anything else specific to you that you think will support you in these contexts.

Complete short task 8 in workbook (25 minutes)

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Section links

  1. Utilising social work theory
  2. Creative responses
  3. Ethical responses
  4. Organisational support
  5. Self-care (current page)
  6. Follow up task