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Wellness Month promotes self-care for students and practitioners

By Annie Francis, Coordinator of Student Affairs

Professional self-care is an essential survival skill for social workers and social work students. As you know, practitioners are strongly encouraged to take care of themselves to prevent stress from progressing to distress or impairment.

To help students build and enhance their self-care strategies during their time in the program, the UNC School of Social Work deemed November Wellness Month for social work students. This initiative included four main activities targeting students’ emotional, physical, social and spiritual wellness.

During the first two weeks of November, students were encouraged to choose the stairs instead of the elevator during the Stairwell to Better Health campaign. During this event, the stairwells were filled with famous social work quotes to remind students of why they chose the field and to motivate them to continue making progress towards their goals of becoming future social work change agents.

On Nov. 14 and 17, the Eat Well Feel Well campaign provided students with healthy snacks during the lunch time hour to reiterate the importance of eating healthy, especially under stress. Blake Tedder, a final-year student, also facilitated a brief meditation session for students on Nov. 17 in room 300. This event included a brief overview of meditation and its potential benefits before diving into a guided meditation session.

Lastly, throughout the entire month of November, the SoWoSo (social work student organization) office was deemed the “Peace Room” where student could go to relax, regroup and reenergize.

Although students still have a few weeks to go before the semester ends, it is our hope that this initiative emphasized the importance of a healthy work-life balance that students and practitioners should strive to maintain today, tomorrow and throughout their careers.