How to Ensure the Stress of Social Work Doesn’t Get to You

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How to Ensure the Stress of Social Work Doesn’t Get to You

If your chosen career is social work with seniors, you are looked upon in a very high regard. The job is trying both mentally and physically, and can take a real toll on people. While you worked to pursue your online masters in social work you learned all of the practical stuff, but what you likely didn’t learn was how to deal with the stress that accompanies this kind of job, and how not to let that stress get to you.

There are plenty of high-stress jobs out there and social work happens to be one of the top ones. In fact, without taking proper stress relief measures, burnout is very common in the field causing a large number of employees to walk away from their career. With that said here’s a look at some coping strategies you can use in your own life, to ensure the stress doesn’t take over.

Watch for Common Symptoms

As a social worker for seniors your job is to help clients work through various mental and physical issues. For example, their risk for falling accidents is higher than any other demographic, and your job is to ensure that you find ways to protect seniors from falls among so many other things. You are probably very good and quick at identifying symptoms in them, but that doesn’t mean you can do that for yourself. This is why it’s important to make a conscious effort to monitor how you are feeling.

Symptoms that you are becoming over-worked and over-stressed include not being able to focus on a task, not being able to sleep at night, constant headaches, feeling overly emotional, and just not performing at your peak capacity. If you are noticing any of these symptoms it’s important that you act on them.

Speak with Your Employer

If you feel yourself become too stressed and feeling overwhelmed, one of the first things you should do is speak with your employer. It may be that you have too heavy a case load, and that the work could be spread around better. Your boss can’t help you if you don’t speak up.

Look After Your Health

Busy careers such as social work tend to take up a large portion of your time, but it’s important to still look after your own health. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and including regular exercise in your life. If possible, you will want to aim for 30-45 minutes of exercise on a daily basis. You don’t have to join a gym; even walking around your block counts as exercise.

Try Not to Bring Your Work Home

While this tip can be very hard to follow, it really does make a difference in a person’s stress level. It’s important to keep your home life just that – your own home life. This means work needs to stay at the office, both physically and mentally. Allow your home life to be a break and a sanctuary.

Taking the Necessary Steps

As a social worker you know better than anyone how quickly stress can take over your life, which is why you need to be aware of how it is affecting you and react accordingly.

 

Sources

http://workforce.socialworkers.org/whatsnew/stress.pdf

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2010/09/20/managing-stress-in-social-work/

http://larstummers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Coping-with-stress-Tips-from-social-workers-for-social-workers.pdf