How are you Taking Care of Yourself?
Self-care is about protecting your own well-being and happiness. You have to get
creative in truly taking care of yourself. In Social work, one job my not meet your
financial needs. However, one job may also not meet your creative needs. Depending
on the sector that you work in you may always feel as though you can and or should be
I grew increasingly frustrated with the institutions I was employed by I saw homeless
families interact with agencies repeatedly and they did not always get their concrete
needs met. I realized that I just had to get creative. I tapped into my creative side and
used my knowledge and skills and created a T shirt line Designs by Tee LLC through
strategic partnerships and civic engagement. I wanted to promote the quality of life of
individuals with my community, through both political and non-political processes. As
social workers we are often familiar with political side of advocacy. However, the non-
political side requires creativity and tact. So your saying, what does this have to do with
self -care? It actually has a lot. I was able to start and brand a company with a social
cause. I took my frustration and empowered myself. Because I felt more empowered I
am able to think free and clear. I feel good when I am able to assist a family in need
with concrete toiletries, school supplies and or uniforms.
Self-Care for me is giving myself space to create my narrative. As a trauma survivor it
was important that I practice social work mindfully. Do not burn yourself out. Do not get
frustrated daily but in fact create a comfortable working environment for yourself. This is
often times easier said than done. Spas, massages, manicures are all external ways of
taking care of ourselves. There is intrinsic power in tapping into your creative self.
Through the nurturing of your talents and gifts you give yourself freedom to be.
Self-Care can be a trip to a local museum, coloring, journaling, drinking a hot cup of
your favorite tea. Self-Care to me is anything that frees you mentally and allows you to
be well and whole. Sitting in the sun can be self-care. A trip to the gym can be
considered self-care. All of these elements together is an awesome self-care gumbo
soup. If you are religious and or spiritual gathering for worship can also take care of your
inner self. As humans we are parts that surmount to a whole. Social Working can be
draining. This work can deplete our natural resources. It can be physically as well as
mentally exerting and self-care is about preserving this. Reducing the stress level in
your life is a vital part of self-care. Eating healthy meals and getting sufficient sleep can
also be added to the self-care gumbo for an excellent stew.
Self-Care requires creativity, conscious effort, and constant check- ins with yourself. Am
I doing what feels good? What makes me feel good? When am I the most energized?
Then figuring out how to do more of these things consistently. Checking your mental
wellness, thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors are all ways to provide good self-
care. We should be evaluating it on an ongoing and persistent basis to obtain our
optimal level of functioning.
Tamara A. Dopwell LMSW Social Entrepeneur