Social Work Month Update

Over 200 certificates  have been given out to Social Workers around the globe who have inspired others through Social Worker’s Companion blog! Keep up the good work all!

Know a Social Worker who has inspired you? Send a name and email through my contact page throughout the month of March.

Let’s elevate each other.

Mandy

CT 2019

Social Worker 24/7?

From so many colleagues and my own inner monologue I have heard variations of the following issue.

When I leave my job, I can’t turn off the caring. When I see others in my community that need help, do I respond? Won’t I burn out if I am a social worker 24/7?

This feeling is as old as the profession itself. Jane Addams describes the overwhelming feeling one has when your eyes are opened to suffering.

“For the following weeks I went about London almost furtively, afraid to look down narrow streets and alleys lest they disclose again this hideous human need and suffering.” ~ Jane Addams (20 Years at Hull House)

Can you relate? At a certain point I adopted the motto that not every good thing is my good thing to do. Otherwise, the work I put onto myself would be infinite. However,  I don’t want my care for the community to be contained only in my job. I find that what drew me to Social Work, the belief that we can bring to life a community where everyone has access to well- being, doesn’t stop when I leave work. But compassion fatigue is a real thing. So is not taking care of yourself properly. It’s a tough tightrope to walk.

At the end of the day, I believe each one of us has to find our personal balance on this question. For me, I discovered that caring for others in my free time can actual rejuvenate me- not lead to feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of need. But, there are times I have felt like Jane Addams, afraid to look up and see the suffering in my own community. Because then I know I would feel called to act.

Honestly, I have to answer this question again and again every day. It is not a balance I have mastered. How do you manage this balance? Is this an area you struggle with. Comment or write me – would be honored to hear your thoughts.

Mandy

2019 Social Work Appreciation Month

As March dawns, we enter the month of Social Work Appreciation! This year the NASW theme for the month is Elevate Social Work.  The idea behind the month is simple, to elevate the profession, each other, and ourselves. Creating positive and professional depictions of social work in our communities and media is crucial and often an additional task we take on above and beyond our normal tasks. However, this month I want to create space to elevate each other.

Social Worker’s Companion Blog elevate each otherwill again be sending out certificates of appreciation to Social Workers all through out the month of March. If you would like one emailed to a Social Worker you think deserves to be elevated, just send me their first name and email here. Don’t be afraid to request one for yourself too!

Last year, I did one for all the staff I supervise at my agency. This blog also sent out over 50 certificates to Social Workers across the US, UK, India, and Canada. If you are a supervisor and want to make a batch for your staff, just email me and I will send you the fillable version of the certificate.

So if there is a Social Worker who has inspired you, just send me a line and they will get the certificate below personalized and emailed with a note saying that someone recognized them as an inspirational social worker.

CT 2019

So let me know who inspires you- happy March all!

Mandy

The Ordinary Sacred

If you work in a social work role everyday, you witness a lot. You witness the gamut of emotions. You are there with people living through their darkest days. You may put expectations on yourself to fix the darkness.

It’s easy to lose sight of the sacred in every day life, to miss the importance of each relationship and the dignity and worth of each person.

Social workers are my people because we leave it all on the table. Each day I watch my coworkers give the best of themselves until they walk out the door. We are dedicated to the work. We are dedicated to the person in front of us. That is sacred work.

I find that when I don’t seek the sacred in my personal life, I start to struggle. I feel my own darkness taking ground. My favorite poet, Wendell Berry, once wrote that ” there are no unsacred places, only sacred places and desecrated places.” By his account, to see the sacred is merely to open one’s eyes. That can be a type of seeking in itself.

One way I try to “open my eyes” to the sacred is hiking in the hills near my house. The land, owned by a monastery, is an open space for the public. On the top of the biggest hill, about a 45 minute hike upwards, is a shrine on a lookout over the distant hills. The bricks upholding the shrine are full of notes wedged into the cracks, money, and trinkets. The leavings of those before me, offering of themselves. As I sat for a moment on the stones, I was hit by the beauty that others are looking for the sacred too.

Participating in the creation of music is also a big eye opener for me to the sacred. Something about the completely natural beauty of how notes fit together and how timbres blend sets my soul right. Even though it requires more on my schedule to make music happen with friends, it always gives me more than it takes. Here is a  recent song I played recorded with a friend to share with you.

I find experiences like this bring balance and light so I can keep dedicating myself fully to the work of the person in front of me.

Do you ever find yourself seeking the same? What do you find sets your soul right again?

Mandy

 

Meditation for the Perfectionist

Social Workers often have a lot riding on them doing their jobs well. I think we all, to some extent, feel the weight of our jobs as part of society’s social safety net. If you are a Social Worker or helping professional that also contends with anxiety, your ability to cope can be diminished by a sense that perfection is required.

So, for anyone that may find themselves falling into the perfectionist trap; I dedicate this meditation to you. I created it for myself to use during particularly stressful times. If it is helpful to you, please use it. If you would like the file emailed to you, just let me know.

Anyone else struggle with anxiety from rigid self-expectations? Let me know how you deal.

Mandy

Anxiety and Relaxation Meditation

 

 

World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis…

Hey Fellow Social Workers! If Yemen was 100 people, 80 would need aid to survive.

Let’s respond as a profession to this crisis

“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty”

Hey all! 

Whether you are a social worker or not, we can all do one thing to help Yemen through the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Can you skip a lunch? Skip a coffee? Let’s all skip that item we indulge in to address the starvation and devastation yet.

I chose Islamic Relief USA as they are highly rated for using funds well on Charity Navigator.

To quote my favorite poet, Wendell Berry: “The smallest unit of health is community.” We need each other to be whole. Do what you can.

Mandy

Fundraiser: Social Workers and Allies for Basic Human Needs in Yemen