Social Care Work is a rewarding, restorative and inspiring job, but it can also be exhausting, demanding and emotionally draining at times. Providing care and support for others can take its toll, so as a social care worker, it is vitally important that you take the time to take care of yourself. Burnout is common in many professions which relate to caring for others. Spot the signs in yourself or colleagues who may be close to burnout.
Some of the signs of burnout:
• Loss of enthusiasm in your work
• Heightened irritability with co-workers or clients
• Difficulty maintaining focus
• Decrease in energy or productivity
• Change in sleep patterns
• Medical issues without identifiable causes
• Engaging in unhealthy stress responses like overeating, drinking or taking drugs
It is important to pay attention to your self-care and to take steps to avoid burnout. Here are 6 tips to help you to reduce your stress.
1. Set Limits and Create a Schedule
Set limits related to your schedule, client needs, and even your friends and family commitments. A structured schedule is the best way to prevent burnout and to clearly identify when you work and when you have rest time.
2. Eat, Drink and Sleep Well
Good health is important for maintaining the busy schedule and demands of social care work. When you eat healthily, stay hydrated, and get enough rest, you are less vulnerable to burnout.
3. Maintain Boundaries
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent burnout is to maintain firm boundaries with clients and colleagues. Boundary issues are usually covered in ethics training, continuing professional development and in-work training, but it’s an important reminder.
4. Make Time for You
Do something you enjoy – perhaps something creative to relieve stress and prevent burnout. Social care workers often participate in creative pursuits like music, journaling, and art for clients to reduce stress, remember it can reduce your stress too. This is a self-care strategy.
5. Take Time off
You are given personal days at work for a reason. Make sure you use this time for something you enjoy. Plan and take your holidays.
Even if it isn’t feasible to travel too far, any small change of environment and scenery can be invigorating – even for a day or two.
6. Talk to Someone
Identify someone you can talk to about work, your stresses and whatever happens to be on your mind, such as a supervisor at work or a therapist outside of the job. Family don’t always understand, and due to the confidential nature of the job, it isn’t always appropriate to share details, so find someone you can open up to and that can offer guidance, support and advice.
Don’t wait until it is too late to deal with social care worker stress. Start today to implement strategies to reduce burnout symptoms and re-energise yourself in your job.
Are You Ready for a New Direction in Your Social Work Career?
Continuing your career progression and securing new job opportunities, can lead to greater satisfaction in your work. Talk to Rachel about Social Care Opportunities.