Taking Care of Self
by Erlene Grise-Owens, Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, MSW, MRE, co-editor of The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals
Welcome to OUR blog! This space is for all of us as professional helpers to share our struggles, strategies, and successes with self-care! The blog was prompted by the recent publication of The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals. Jay Miller, Mindy Eaves, and I had the privilege of editing the book. Written by practitioners for practitioners, the book includes field-tested strategies and stories from 30 practitioners! The A-Z entries cover fundamental elements of self-care in realistic and multi-faceted ways. Check it out at Amazon.com or the publisher's website.
In promoting self-care as part of professional practice for more than a decade, I’ve learned a lot. Self-care remains incredibly misunderstood and challenging! Self-care is counter to the dominant culture of society in general and helping professionals in particular. Yet, more and more evidence points to self-care as essential for ethical, competent, meaningful, and sustainable practice! So, this blog builds on The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook to address ongoing questions, insights, and quandaries about this important professional skill.
That’s right, self-care is a SKILL! And, like any skill, it is never complete or perfected. A colleague, Tiffany Cole-Hall, explains about having a specific, evolving self-care plan: “It’s NOT one and done!” As professionals and as human beings, we struggle, make progress, have setbacks, and celebrate successes in self-care. This blog space is for us to have a shared think tank and support network for that important commitment and process!
This blog will keep it real by using actual experiences of practitioners. In ongoing blog posts, a cadre of A-Z authors and other interested contributors will share this space. I will serve as lead to coordinate topics, consider questions, and so forth. Please, contact me if you have questions about self-care, are struggling with self-care, or want to share a particular resource, strategy, or success. Future blog posts will address topics such as: the relationship between self-care and an organization’s accountability for staff wellness; addressing common myths, misunderstandings, and mistakes about self-care; using self-care to survive in a toxic environment; and a range of specific resources, strategies, and successes in navigating the struggles and barriers of self-care.
Personally and professionally, I am on a mission to affect the culture of professional helping (and social work, specifically) to one of organizational wellness and practitioner well-being. A growing number of professionals, including my A-to-Z co-editors and authors, are making this commitment.
Join the self-care and wellness movement! Together, let’s create a web of wellness in professional helping! I look forward to sharing this space with you. Much gratitude to The New Social Worker and Linda Grobman for providing this platform for our movement!
Peace, Love, and Self-Care! Erlene Grise-Owens, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erlene Grise-Owens, Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, MSW, MRE, is currently a full-time professor in social work. She is lead editor of The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals. More than a decade ago, she and a small (but mighty!) group of colleagues began an initiative to promote self-care as part of the social work education curriculum. She develops and facilitates continuing education trainings on self-care and wellness; consults with community agencies about organizational wellness; and contributes to professional scholarship on these topics. Previously, she served in clinical and administrative roles. She has experience with navigating organizational toxicity and dysfunction, up-close and personal! Likewise, she sees students enter the field and quickly burn out. As a dedicated social worker, she believes the well-being of practitioners is a matter of social justice and human rights. Thus, she is on a just mission to promote self-care and wellness!