How Remote Social Workers Can Take Care of Their Health

In medical publication Healthline’s article, Does Anybody Care About The Mental Health of Social Workers, social worker Shivani Seth describes how the demands of social work can lead to poor mental health. The romanticization of martyrdom within social work created a culture in which social workers were expected to disregard their own needs to do their job well. Because social work is touted as a noble career, many social workers slog through emotionally-draining work at low pay without complaint, in the name of their calling.

Remote social work can present additional challenges. As explained by digital healthcare company Wheel in their overview of remote social work, the need for social work services surged due to the increased vulnerability of the general population under COVID-19. In Washington, the growing number of companies delivering telehealth services created a greater demand for master’s level social work therapists. If demand becomes greater than the number of people working in the profession, existing social workers are at risk of taking too much load and burning themselves out.

Social workers who don’t pay attention to their limits can put their mental, physical, and emotional health at risk. Fortunately, there are many ways remote social workers can mitigate the stress of their profession. The following tips can help remote social workers alleviate the day-to-day stresses they experience and promote good health amidst job difficulties.

Try Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness refers to a state of consciousness that allows individuals to become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Exercises like yoga and meditation can help promote mindfulness. According to psychologist and professor Dr. Deborah Serani, who works at Adelphi University in New York, mindfulness exercises can deepen psychological aspects, including insight, reflection, and self-regulation. Mindfulness can also ease negative emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the quality of sleep. Social workers should use some of their free time practicing mindfulness exercises to improve their resilience against stress.

Eat Healthy Meals

Our Brain Boosting Tips for Seniors guide explains that eating nutritious foods can promote cognitive health. A healthy diet of lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables can give your brain the nourishment it needs. Eating healthy doesn’t only have physical benefits for the brain. There’s also a strong correlation between a person’s diet and their mental health. A poor diet can exacerbate mood problems and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Social workers should do their best to include nutritious foods in their daily meals to keep their brains and bodies at peak health.

Create Stricter Work-Life Boundaries

The stress levels social workers experience will worsen if they fail to disengage from work after the clock. When social workers continue thinking about their work tasks during their off-hours, they don’t give their brains or bodies the rest it needs. Disengaging can be more difficult during remote work since there are no longer physical boundaries to separate the home and the workplace. Remote social workers then need to make a greater effort to distinguish where work ends and the rest of life begins. They can do this by assigning a specific room for work purposes, which they are only allowed to enter during work hours. If this is not possible, they can simply hide all items associated with work (such as laptops) out of sight once they log off. When social workers set these boundaries, they can prevent work stress from growing and bleeding into the rest of their lives.

Social work can be an extremely stressful job, especially after the global health crisis created a greater demand. Small lifestyle changes, such as practicing mindfulness exercises, adopting healthy diets, and creating boundaries between work and life can help social workers better manage job-related stress.


More from this stream