Let’s Talk Wellness – Tips from Family Services

Let’s talk wellness!!

Self-care is an imperative part of wellness. As social worker, I have always been encouraged and taught that self-care is an important part of our profession. In my experience, I realized that it’s not just important for social worker but is an important part of everyone’s health and overall wellbeing.

What does wellness mean?

The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as the “active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.” Wellness is a process that consists of increasing awareness and choosing options that result in growth and balance.

At A Step Beyond we know that our youth are making life choices that impact their health in significant ways. Our youth face difficult situations and struggles with, school, peers, relationships, family dynamics, and stress. We make sure our students have access to a social worker and social work interns, and have the opportunity to talk about their wellness, meeting in small groups, and for one-on-one check-ins. During these sessions they are encouraged to evaluate their own health and their current life habits and to set goals that they choose and that they believe are important to build a healthy life. Our goal is when our students leave our organization, they will have the skills and tools to live a happier and healthier life.

Here are some suggestions to help you reach your own personal wellness goals!

  1. Use a Strength Approach – Remember that self-care is a process and we do not have a perfect self-care plan. Switch negative thoughts to positive thinking!
  2.  Create SMART plan – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Limited.
  3. Enlist Support – Enlist support from people, group support, calendar reminders, books, and other materials.
  4. Set Aside Time to Reflect – You may do this alone or in conversation. Reflecting will help you think about what is working for you or not. How have you been feeling? What do you need to reach your own personal wellness?

Remember that everyone’s approach is different and self-care takes practice, but the journey can result in positive wellbeing. A Step Beyond values the well-being of each and every person, and encourages you to take the steps to enhance you own personal well-being.

Below are some recommendations and suggestions for the different aspects of self-care

Workplace or professional Self-Care

This involves activities that help you to work consistently at the professional level expected of you. For example:

  • Engage in regular supervision or consulting with a more experienced colleague
  • Set up a peer-support group
  • Be strict with boundaries between clients/students and staff
  • Read professional journals
  • Attend professional development programs.

Physical Self-Care

Activities that help you to stay fit and healthy, and with enough energy to get through your work and personal commitments.

  • Develop a regular sleep routine.
  • Aim for a healthy diet.
  • Take lunch breaks.
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Take your dog for a walk after work.
  • Use your sick leave.
  • Get some exercise before/after work regularly.

Psychological Self-Care

Activities that help you to feel clear-headed and able to intellectually engage with the professional challenges that are found in your work and personal life.

  • Keep a reflective journal.
  • Seek and engage in external supervision or regularly consult with a more experienced colleague.
  • Engage with a non-work hobby.
  • Turn off your email and work phone outside of work hours.
  • Make time for relaxation.
  • Make time to engage with positive friends and family.

Emotional Self-Care

Allowing yourself to safely experience your full range of emotions.

  • Develop friendships that are supportive.
  • Write three good things that you did each day.
  • Go to the movies or do something else you enjoy.
  • Talk to you friend about how you are coping with work and life demands.

Spiritual Self-Care

This involves having a sense of perspective beyond the day-to-day of life.

  • Engage in reflective practices like meditation.
  • Go to church/mosque/temple.
  • Do yoga.
  • Reflect with a close friend for support.
  • Download the 1 Giant Mind app and learn mindfulness.