During the first week of being a UNC Social Work Student you hear a lot about ‘self-care’-which is intentionally caring for yourself. I remember thinking, “Well that’s good to know.” As the semester really got going, more and more instructors would remind us to “practice self-care.” It wasn’t until I experienced a super-long, super-stressful day as a student that I really got it. In order for me to be the best me, social worker, student, friend etc, I must learn to take care of myself. A great deal of information exists that talks about how social workers are at high risk of burn-out and depression. So this is a really important lesson for you to learn as early as you can!
The thing about self-care is that it looks different for everybody. Some folks run or workout, others take 3 hours naps (personal favorite), some go out with friends (another fav) and others take up a new hobby that they find relaxing and that brings them joy. Whatever method you choose, needs to be one that works for you. Use this as an opportunity to explore what works for you and give yourself permission to change your methods. If running was working, but now you feel pressured to do it, try yoga instead. This lesson alone has the potential to completely change your lifestyle–I encourage you to embrace it!