(not so) Cheap Social Worker's Guide to Preventing Social Work Burnout

Like many of you, I have days when I come home exhausted, frustrated, and jaded. I wonder why I'm in this field and question whether my work makes a difference. Sometimes, I go as far googling alternate jobs I could do with my MSW. This is when I know it's time for some self-care.

As members of a profession notorious for burnout, we social workers have to be especially conscious of our need for rest and rejuvenation. While people in other fields might find the term funny, "self-care" is essential to keep ourselves physically and emotionally well. That way, we can provide the best care possible to the populations we serve.

Working in a profession that also has a reputation for being lower paying, many of us lack the funds for a fancy vacation or spa treatment. However, this is not an excuse to neglect our self-care regimen. Here are some ideas for caring for yourself while saving a few dollars:

Cheap Tip #1: Go for a walk/jog. Find a scenic area or park and get a little bit of exercise. The release of endorphins will help relieve some work related stress!

Cheap Tip #2: Movie night at home. Grab a movie from Redbox, pop some microwavable popcorn, and have a relaxing night at home! Invite some friends over for more food and fun.

Cheap Tip #3: Treat yourself at a discount. Check out deal-of-the-day sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. There you'll find discounts on getaways, shopping, spas, and restaurants. Pamper yourself! You deserve it!

Cheap Tip #4: Happy Hour. Most restaurants offer discounted appetizers and drinks during the afternoon hours. Grab some friends or co-workers and wind down after a long work day!

Cheap Tip #5: Take a bubble bath. Turn on some relaxing music, light some candles, and enjoy a soothing soak in the tub. Personally, I like the Mr. Bubble bubble bath from my childhood.

Cheap Tip #6: Sleep early. I know this sounds elementary, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sleep. If you've had a particularly stressful day, try going to bed a earlier than usual. You'll feel rested and refreshed in the morning.

Cheap Tip #7: Plan a weekend staycation. I am fortunate enough to live near San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and the Napa Valley. Find out what attractions are near your area and plan a weekend trip there. You might discover a new favorite hangout during your adventure!

The next time you feel overwhelmed from work, try one of the tips on this list!

What are you favorite ways to relax when you're feeling some social work burnout? I'm always looking for new self-care ideas myself!


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