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New Year! New You!: Embracing the Ethical Aspiration to Engage in Self-Care
by Elise H. Reed, Ed.D., LCSW-BACS
It is 2022! Can you believe it? Today, we find ourselves firmly planted in a new year. As we reflect on the past 12 months, there is no denying that there have been personal and professional challenges. COVID-19 has stretched and, in some instances, stressed us beyond proportion. As social workers, we have been called to professional tables to discuss implementation of safety plans, service modifications in a virtual environment, and grief management programming. Our day-to-day dash out of the door with a set of keys and our reading glasses has evolved to include a mask and hand sanitizer. This is just one way that we take care of ourselves and others in the midst of a pandemic.
Taking care of ourselves and others in this “new normal” climate is essential to our professional practice. The National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics most recent revision went into effect January 1, 2021, and it set an aspiration goal for social workers to embrace self-care. A quality plan of self-care assists in maintaining health, as well as, preventing and managing illness. Self-care encompasses the way we eat, move, and live in general. As we embark on this upcoming year’s journey, I am challenging myself and my colleagues across the state to take care of self - better. Below are few tips to start this life-changing path.
- Tip 1: Embrace spiritual practices. Engage and explore spiritual practices that promote a sense of purpose, positivity, and appreciation for life.
- Tip 2: Eat healthier. A balanced diet, with fewer trips to fast food establishments and an increase in water intake has been linked to increased energy levels. This lifestyle change can provide us with the fortitude that is needed to make it through a long day at the office.
- Tip 3: Get moving. Walking and exercise in general has been linked to positive reductions in stress. This tip can be a positive defense between waves of burnout that is associated with direct practice.
So, as we embark on a New Year with its uncertainties, resolve to arm yourself with a personalized plan of self-care. The benefits are sure to be evident in each aspect of our daily lives.
Happy New Year!
Elise H. Reed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers - Louisiana Chapter, Monroe Region. She is also a member of the NASW-LA Image Building Committee representing the Monroe Region.