A career as a community service worker is deeply rewarding, but it is also challenging. In community support worker training, you will learn how to counsel people who may be struggling with addiction, homelessness or family issues. You could be working with individuals who are coping with teen pregnancy, or supporting elderly people who feel isolated and alone. Working in a community center or at a non-profit organization, you will meet dozens of people a day who seek your care and expert counsel. In order to help these people to the best of your ability, it is extremely important that you – the community service worker, also take the time to care for yourself.
You are what you eat, and when you eat poorly, it is reflected in your mood and physical wellbeing. Healthcare providers, such as graduates of addiction worker training see first-hand how diet deficiencies wreak havoc with every aspect of an individual’s life. Healthy foods provide the body with nutrients and vitamins that are lacking in those convenient processed snacks and takeout. A lack of essential nutrients can make you lethargic, cranky and can seriously affect your mood. To ensure you give quality service to your clients, CSWs must take the time to prepare and eat plenty of fresh and healthy foods. After all, although your busy schedule makes skipping meals tempting, you’ll be depriving yourself – and the community you serve – from the energy and focus your job demands.
Set a Reasonable Schedule
When you’re helping multiple people a day – often through very trying times – it can be challenging to find a moment or two for yourself. But in order to provide individuals with the support they need, you need to be well rested. Community service workers are good-hearted, which is why it can sometimes be difficult to say no. Instead of fretting over your workload, and stretching yourself too thin, the most resilient CSWs ensure that they have time for breaks, for eating right, and for getting a good night’s sleep. Endless overtime will only wear you out!
Avoiding Compassion Fatigue
As a part of the job, community service workers are there to listen to and help victims of abuse and other traumatizing life experiences. Although CSWs are naturally empathic and are trained to help others without absorbing too much stress, there are times when it can be challenging to remain energized and positive. To avoid compassion fatigue, CSWs will take a personal day, share their feelings and experiences with colleagues, and draw on a support system of friends and family who are able to make them laugh.
Take Up a Fulfilling and Calming Hobby
Anyone in a mental health worker program will tell you that cultivating a fulfilling personal life is essential to good mental health. Have an activity to come home to after full and busy workdays, such as knitting, basketball, music, photography, biking – whatever it is that makes you feel good. Like any professional, CSWs need to find a balance between their work and play, which will help them to decompress after a long day and come back refreshed – ready to help those most in need.
What do think is most important part of really looking after your own well-being?