Hey fellow social workers!
Have you ever experienced feeling just totally burned out in dealing with so much human suffering, where you just don't want to see or hear about another awful thing? It's especially hard for us social workers because we are the people who feel so committed to making a difference, and the need seems so un-ending that it is daunting. We wish we could fix it all, and yet there is always something more that could be done. No wonder we feel burned out! But wait, what if that feeling is optional?
What if we could still go about helping the people that we help, but have a different experience within ourselves as we go about it? What if instead of feeling burned out at the end of the day, there is a part of us that feels re-wired and hopeful about what is possible in the lives of the people we touch? Not only is it possible for us, but there are tools we can share with our clients to make this possible for them as well. As you may already suspect, this is all about how we are thinking. How can we adjust our thinking so that rather than tormenting ourselves with worry and doom, it can be harnessed in service of helping ourselves and our clients be more empowered to move forwards in a deliberate and mindful way. Now, I know you are likely thinking that "our clients have very real problems" and this is more than just thinking different. Point well taken. I was there too. And yet, there are solutions even if we don't know what they are yet. I will be sharing stories with you to illustrate this further and invite you to simply keep a corner of your mind open to the possibility.
I am sure that you have likely experienced attending a conference or reading a book and had an epiphany where it made sense and you felt eager to jump back into the fray, and felt energized to bring yourself back into the game. The problem is, (particularly for social workers who tend to be "lone rangers") is that once again we get caught up in the thinking of the world and fall back into the old patterns of having the problems of the world feel bigger than ourselves and bigger than our clients ability to navigate.
So how can we change our thinking and have it be lasting? Basically through repetition. Brain science tells us that it takes 30 days to form a new habit. What we are learning about neuroplasticity is that in changing our habitual ways of thinking, we are also re-wiring our brains.
What we also know is that when we begin our day in a mindful way, in setting an intention of how we want to be, our day tends to go much better. As a gift to my you, my fellow social worker, I have created a 30 day program where you will receive an email each day for 30 days with a short 2-3 minute video, with thoughts to bring forward into your day to foster more of a sense of empowerment in determining how you will feel throughout and at the end of the day. Of course, as you practice the tools and notice what feels different for you, you will be eager to share these ideas with your clients...cause that's how we roll!
If you would like to sign up to receive SOAP Notes (Social workers Optimism Activation Practice), provide your first name and email address in the form below and we will get you started. See you soon!