Social Workers are overworked. I’ve met a bunch over the years and for the most part, they seem frazzled and stressed out. Being a Social Worker myself, I know I can get pretty frazzled and stressed out as well.
We spend so much of our time and energy taking care of other people. It’s part of our profession; we are trained to help others. We teach them the skills they need to function in the world. We have these skills at our finger tips and we are able to share them with our clients like its second nature. Yet for some reason we are unable or unwilling to apply these skills to ourselves. We are not adequately taking care of ourselves. This often translates to the high stress and unpleasant attitude I’ve been seeing.
Lately, I’ve met with several Social Workers who are not able to effectively do their job. Our clients access many services and so we as workers need to communicate to coordinate care. In doing so, I get to see how other social workers do their job. How they interact with clients. How they deal with their day. It’s not pretty. I’m seeing a lot of overworked people. Professionals who are not acting very professional. Details are being missed, schedules are being ignored. It’s not pleasant. I don’t take a lot of this personally. I know it’s the hazards of our profession. It’s what can happen when a person spends countless hours caring for others and neglecting themselves.
With all of this stress and negativity it can be difficult to find hope. Yet I believe that there is hope for our profession. I may have encountered several stressed out Social Workers lately, yet I have also met with dozens of compassionate and passionate Social Workers as well. Times are difficult now for everyone, so we are not exempt from feeling the pressures of daily living. At the same time, we have the advantage of our training and resources to help us prosper. We have helped clients through some of the most heartbreaking times of their lives; we can help ourselves get through the stress.
As a profession, we need to continue to stay connected and take care of ourselves. We need to practice what we preach to our clients. We need to stay motivated and passionate about the work that we do. We are all entitled to a few bad days. We are all allowed to feeling a bit stressed out and frazzled. The key is to take steps to combat the stress and focus on the positive. We must do this in order to best help our clients and to best care for ourselves.