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Reducing Holiday Season Stress: Advice for Social Workers

December 2020 by Tradewind Australia

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The holidays can be stressful for many people, but particularly for those in helping professions. It’s natural for Social Workers to want to serve and give during this time of year, not just to their clients but to their loved ones as well. To avoid becoming overworked and burnt out, Social Workers need to be more intentional with their self-care during the silly season to ensure they have the energy to continue helping others the way they want to.

Here are our top tips to help you manage your stress over the holiday period.

Plan and Prioritise

The key to combating holiday season stress is being proactive and planning ahead. Regardless of how many (or few) days you have off during this period, it’s easy to pack them full of festive events, get-togethers and gift shopping, leaving very little time for you to get that much-needed rest.

Take the time now to schedule in respites for yourself, whether they involve sleeping in on your day off or booking a longer break for when things calm down in the New Year. Speak to your manager, colleagues and family members about how they can support you with your commitment to wellness.

Another simple strategy for reducing stress is to make a list of all the tasks you need to do that day or week, and then select at least one task to delete. This will help you be more strategic about how you use your time, instead of feeling like you have to “do it all”.

Set Boundaries and Ask for Help

Most Social Workers are well-aware of the importance of boundaries, but these often take more work to maintain during the holiday period when there are so many demands on our time and energy. Where do you need to set or strengthen your boundaries right now? Perhaps it’s a friend pressuring you to attend yet another Christmas event or a supervisor asking you to take on just one more client. Give yourself permission to consider your own needs and politely say “no” if necessary.

In the same vein, we know that asking for help can be difficult when you’re used to being the one doing the helping. However, it’s important to check in with yourself and ask for support when you need it, such as seeking emotional support from a friend or delegating an errand to someone else in your household.

Practice Being Present

Amid the hustle and bustle of the festive season, it’s easy to get so absorbed in your “to do” list that you miss the happy moments that sneak into each day. Instead of rushing through the busyness, concentrate on being present and savouring the positive parts of this time. Practice gratitude and enjoy every small thing you can, from the Christmas card you receive from a client to enjoying a meal with friends or family. Perhaps try writing a gratitude journal; a straightforward way of reflecting on your day and appreciating the small things. A good Christmas gift idea too for other Social Workers in your life!

By shifting your attention to the good things in your life and staying focused on what’s in front of us, you can make the stress and challenges easier to deal with.

Summary

We hope these tips help you prioritise your needs and have a more restful and enjoyable holiday season.

If you’re looking to make a change in the New Year, get in touch with the Social Work recruitment specialists at Tradewind Australia for support with finding your next opportunity in Victoria. Let us take the job search stress off your plate, leaving you free to make the most of this time and ready for a fresh start in 2021.