Self-Care in Social Work: Looking after yourself

Over the last few weeks/months, Ulster University has been conducting the second wave of a wellbeing survey for Health and Social Care professionals. Research found that the wellbeing of social workers, who were the ‘foremost’ among participants has decreased since the first wave of the study, with results suggesting that those working in the social care sector are more likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety the more the pandemic has progressed. There was also evidence that social workers who said their services were overwhelmed were among those with the lowest wellbeing scores.

2020 has been an incredibly challenging and distressing time, with multiple lockdowns adding to the challenge of homeschooling, not seeing family/loved ones, and trying to juggle everything and support others. This has been especially difficult for people like you, our frontline social workers and care staff, who have been working under increased pressure and stress, and (with all of that going on) I’d be amazed if you haven’t been negatively impacted. There is often a lot of pressure to feel like we should be keeping on top of everything as normal, however, we often forget that we have lived through a global pandemic, and subsequently multiple lockdowns, for over a year now. So, if you are not feeling your best, that is okay.

Turning to negative coping strategies such as self-blame is easy to do when you are not feeling well. However, although it doesn’t always feel like it, you have kept vital services running for societies most vulnerable through this time, and that is something you should be incredibly proud of. That said, it is vital that we remember to look out for our colleagues and friends, and (if you are feeling under too much pressure) speak with your manager or someone you trust and practice self-care, so as to avoid burnout.

The team at Social Personnel have collated together a selection of helpful resources that are specifically for those working in health and social care that are free to access below. Alternatively, our consultants are always available to chat with you if you need some advice or a listening ear.

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