It's no secret that social work has one of the highest burnout rates, alongside physicians, nurses, teachers, and attorneys. Burnout is an emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
Someone who is burnt out will often feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the constant demands for the things they are responsible for (raise your hand if you have ever felt this way, I know I sure have!).
Burnout also happens when we, for whatever reason, do not take care of ourselves. Self-care is hugely important in a field like social work.
There are constant stressors and crises and when you do not make time for yourself, burnout will happen and you will not be as effective as you used to be.
Find things that bring you joy and that fill your cup. It can look different each time, too. It is not something that has to stay the exact same for the rest of your life.
For me, sometimes self-care looks like having a night off to hang out with my friends and just talk and laugh. Other times it looks like snuggling up in bed to read a good book. It even looks like taking a nap.
Find those things that fill your soul with joy and make time for them.
I'll be honest, I don't always take the best care of myself. Self-care is a really hard thing for me to do because I am such a go-go-go person and a yes person. Nine times out of ten if someone needs help with something and I am available to help, I do; even if what I really need to do is go back to my room and focus on something else.
I can't help it. I want to be that person who is always up for helping out a friend, but over the past eight or so months, I have learned that it is okay to say no and that it is definitely okay to say, "You know, I am not really sure that I am in the right head space to talk about this right now, but I definitely want to talk to you about it sometime soon."
Embracing the word no has been a wonderful challenge for me this year, and if you are anything like me I want to encourage you to embrace the word no.