31 Ways Social Workers Can Practice Self-Care



“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

March is Social Work MonthThe 2018 Social Work Month theme “Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions” shouldn’t just apply to the work we do on behalf of our clients. As social workers, we must be our own best leaders, advocates, and champions. While the purpose of the social work month campaign is also to improve the image and respect of the social work profession by educating the public, the media and elected officials about our great profession, we should strive to take better care of each other.  I invite social workers to also use social work month to hold each other accountable for adequate and responsible self-care so that more of us avoid burnout and compassion fatigue.

Fact: Many social workers are over worked and under paid.

Self-care is an essential social work skill. Self-care refers to the activities that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Self-care entails making healthy lifestyle choices and eliminating and managing stress. Self-care is intentional, comprehensive, ongoing and necessary in order to perform at your professional best.

Here are 31 Ways Social Workers Can Practice Self-Care:

  1. Commit to yourself
  2. Make your health a priority
  3. Set clear boundaries
  4. Live beneath your means
  5. Enroll in continuing education courses
  6. Ask for a utilize supervision
  7. Get active
  8. Plan leisure time in your schedule
  9. Combat negative self talk
  10. Pray and use positive affirmations
  11. Pay attention to your body and the signals it sends you
  12. Take regular bubble baths after work
  13. Learn meditation techniques
  14. Get a regular massage, manicure, or pedicure
  15. Listen to your favorite songs
  16. Know your triggers
  17. Keep a professional journal
  18. Read a good book
  19. Advocate for yourself
  20. Be authentically you
  21. Trust your instincts
  22. Get adequate rest and sleep
  23. Eat a nutritious diet
  24. Spend time with people you love
  25. Avoid toxic people
  26. Laugh more often
  27. Get comfortable with saying no
  28. Release any guilt that is weighing you down
  29. Regularly disconnect from the news and social media
  30. Avoid tobacco, recreational drugs, and over indulging in alcohol and food
  31. Seek professional mental health support when needed


The bottom line is that you must develop your own individualized self-care regiment that works best for your overall health and wellness. Happy Social Work Month!


Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career development. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.

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