Mindfulness: 10 Lessons in Self-Care for Social Workers

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Beyond self-care

All of these are beautiful suggestions and regular practice can greatly decrease suffering. But, as a long term social worker, yoga therapist and mindfulness meditation instructor, I have found that the majority of stress and burnout experienced by social workers, especially those newer to the field, goes way beyond their individual self-care. Low pay, meager benefits, secondary trauma, compassion fatigue and systemic issues greatly affect the social worker as well. I feel there is a need to overhaul the expectations of the social work workplace structure and environment - allowing more flexibility in schedule, ample "mental health" days, pay grades that match other master-level positions and more realistic caseloads and performance expectations. We need to move away from placing responsibility on the individual social worker and looking more systemically for solutions.
Lastly, I would remove altruism from the list -- social workers usually have the opposite problem and need to practice accepting help and care from others!

AL 171 days ago

Organizational accountability

Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. I believe both are necessary -- individual self-care and systemic change. I hope you'll read this post on organizational accountability and self-care: http://swkr.co/2gFCeGU

SocialWorker.com 170 days ago

I agree

I have also practiced as a social worker for over 25 years and I agree that the issue of stress and burnout is best resolved by addressing some of the systemic problems with the occupation.

Caroline Miege 95 days ago

Thank You

I really appreciate the reminder of the benefits of mindfulness. It was well written.

Deslynne Roberts more than 1 year ago

Real World Clinical Social Work

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