Today is International Self-Care Day, and the College of Social Work Alumni Association (SWAA) is excited to celebrate by launching the Self-Care Summer Challenge! All College of Social Work alumni are invited to participate.
Social work is an incredibly rewarding profession, offering many opportunities to support others and help them succeed. It also comes with a great deal of responsibility and, oftentimes, challenges. Research from the UK College of Social Work’s Self-Care Lab suggests that those working in helping professions are more likely to experience high levels of stress, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and more. Some social workers struggling with burnout may have difficulty cultivating the energy and capacity required to approach their jobs with empathy.
That’s why making self-care a priority can be instrumental in improving the mental, physical, and emotional health of social workers and ultimately lead to improved client outcomes. There are many different ways to define self-care, but ultimately it is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
In 2021, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) added an amendment to the NASW Code of Ethics encouraging proactive self-care to support a healthy culture among social workers. The amendment describes self-care in social work as “a key component of ethical and professional excellence.” The same amendment also refers to scientific research showing that “proactive self-care reduces the likelihood of impairment and enhances job satisfaction and professional longevity.”
Let’s be clear: self-care is NOT selfish! Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, which will allow you to tackle everything that life throws your way. By taking the time to invest in self-care, you’ll experience a myriad of benefits, including reduced stress, better sleep, boosted productivity, and a more positive outlook.
The Self-Care Summer Challenge isn’t about telling you what to do or how to approach your own self-care. Rather, we want to create a space for you to be motivated, inspired, and supported to engage in self-care activities that work for you.
Sound good? Then let’s get started! Join your fellow social work alumni in the Self-Care Summer Challenge below.