• Tee

Self Care

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

doing more.

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 gather 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

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