Self Care Ideas for Social Workers

Recently, one of our mental health training team, Paol Stuart-Thomson, had the privilege of delivering a workshop to some of the UK’s best Social Workers on Mental Resilience and Self-Care.

Social work is a noble and challenging profession that requires immense dedication and compassion. Social workers often find themselves providing support, advocacy, and care to individuals and communities facing various hardships. Amid helping others, it is crucial for social workers to prioritise their own well-being. This blog explores the significance of practicing self-care in the life of a social worker, highlighting the benefits it brings not only to the individual but also to their clients and the profession.

Preventing Burnout 

Social work can be emotionally and mentally demanding, exposing practitioners to significant levels of stress and trauma. Without proper self-care practices, social workers risk experiencing burnout. By engaging in self-care activities, such as exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies, they can effectively manage stress and prevent burnout. Taking breaks, setting boundaries, and seeking support from colleagues and supervisors are vital components of self-care that can help social workers maintain their overall well-being.

Enhancing Emotional Resilience 

Social workers encounter complex and often distressing situations regularly. To continue providing empathetic support, they must develop emotional resilience. Practicing self-care enables social workers to process their emotions, seek therapy if needed, and develop coping strategies. By attending to their emotional needs, social workers can approach their work with increased empathy, compassion, and understanding, while reducing the risk of compassion fatigue.

Maintaining Professional Boundaries

Self-care plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining professional boundaries. Social workers need to recognise their limitations and take care of their own needs to avoid becoming overwhelmed or compromising the quality of their work. Engaging in self-reflection and self-awareness practices can help social workers identify potential boundary violations and ensure they provide the best possible care to their clients.

Improving Job Satisfaction

Social work is a challenging profession that requires passion and dedication. However, neglecting self-care can lead to decreased job satisfaction and even disillusionment. By engaging in self-care practices, social workers can rejuvenate their enthusiasm for their work, find joy in their achievements, and maintain a positive outlook. Taking time for themselves helps them recharge and brings renewed energy, resulting in higher job satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment.

Modelling Healthy Behaviours

Practicing self-care not only benefits social workers but also serves as a powerful example for their clients. By demonstrating healthy coping strategies and self-care practices, social workers empower their clients to prioritise their well-being and make positive choices in their lives. Social workers who practice self-care can inspire and motivate others, promoting a culture of self-care within their communities.

Self-care is not a luxury; it is an essential component of a social worker’s professional journey. By prioritising their well-being, social workers can prevent burnout, enhance emotional resilience, maintain professional boundaries, improve job satisfaction, and model healthy behaviours. 

Engaging in self-care not only benefits social workers but also positively impacts the quality of care they provide to their clients and the overall integrity of the profession. It is crucial that social workers embrace self-care as a fundamental aspect of their practice, enabling them to continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of others while safeguarding their own well-being.


As a local mental health charity offering low level mental health support, we offer a range of services that can help if you’re suffering, plus a range of training packages for professionals