So, here’s the scene, guys. It’s an average Tuesday evening. I’m on my way back to Tulsa from a home visit with one of the families I work with in Bartlesville. Tuesdays are my long days, so it’s around 7:30. On a whim, I decide to see what’s on the radio, instead of continuing with my typical podcasts that are so often the soundtrack of my commutes. A poppy T-Swift anthem comes on the radio, and the next thing I know, I am sobbing uncontrollably.
No, but really. Sobbing.
It wasn’t a particularly grim song (in fact, it was quite the opposite), and it wasn’t a particularly rough day on the job.
Now, I’m secretly a Swifty and all, but this is not a normal occurrence for me. It got me thinking: What is WITH me today?
Let me back up a second here, since I’m a newbie to this whole social work blog thing. Hi y’all! My name is Megan. I’m in my first year of my MSW-Direct Practice education. I’m going to school part time, because by day I work for Family and Children’s Services, in the Comprehensive Home Based Services program. For those of you who don’t know what we do over at CHBS (besides having one of the most unfortunate acronyms I’ve yet to hear in the field), let me give you the 411. My coworkers and I work in the field with families who have had some kind of DHS involvement; we go into homes and work with parents to teach them parenting skills and provide some case management. While this is by far the most challenging work I’ve done in the field, it has given me some of the most rewarding experiences. It’s tough, but I love my job.
Also, I was raised by a social worker, and our family has experienced some adversity during my youth, so I’ve got some pretty well developed coping skills in my toolbox. I’m not easily phased on the job or at home. However, the one skill that is absolutely necessary in this field that I struggle with is self-care.
Throughout my life, and especially once I began my social work education, role models in my life have been trying to teach me the skill of self-care. Professors, practicum instructors, and supervisors have all tried to impart their tips and tricks for self-care into my stubborn little brain. Though I hadn’t yet honed these self-care skills, I jumped in head first after getting in to OU for my MSW; I signed up for things (hello, blogisphere), and applied for fellowships. I couldn’t wait to gain all the skills to become an amazing social worker. As it turns out, taking on more responsibility really kicks the need for self-care into high gear (imagine that).
Which brings us back to Taylor Swift.
It seemed so silly to have reacted like this to the song. After some soul searching, I realized that the care-free poppy jam on the radio had really drop kicked me in the feelings because I couldn’t remember the last time I had really just let loose to have fun. I had to take a step back and really contemplate this whole self-care thing. I have since come to realize that self-care is one of the biggest puzzle pieces in the jigsaw that is my life. I realized, I have to figure this out.
I’m sure that this sounds familiar to some of you, although perhaps without Miss Swift’s contribution. I definitely know I’m not alone at work. It’s a stressful field. However, there is a reason that we have decided to go into the social work field—we want to help! And, in order to pursue our passion, we take on a pretty intense number of roles. We have responsibilities at work, at school, at home, with our families, with our friends, as parents, as fur-parents (pets are babies, too). Each of these roles have their own unique responsibilities. Life becomes a balancing act; you give a little and take a little to do the best you can in all of your roles. Organization and prioritizing are key. And, what they say is true: you can’t take care of someone else until you can take care of yourself.
So, I’ve been taking stock of my priorities lately. As it turns out, I have a hard time saying no to people, especially in my personal life. Despite my busy work/school schedule, I often find myself RSVPing to events for friends or family instead of taking the time to recharge in my own way (naps, movies, and books). It’s taken me a long time to understand that it’s okay to say no. I have to listen to my body in order to succeed. This is why the next step in my journey to becoming adept at self-care is what I like to call learning the art of saying no.
I’ll take my leave now, but before I go, I’d like to do a few things. First of all, big thanks to Taylor for really helping to get things to hit home for me.
Secondly, I’d like to ask for my fellow readers to share any tips or tricks they have for baby social workers that are learning to utilize self-care.
Until next time, y’all.
Posted on Mon, October 24, 2016
by Amy Arnold filed under