Something about being spun just makes a girl smile

Instead of Dancing with the Stars, let’s dance with social workers.

Radiant, intentional and compassionate in her personal and professional life, Emily talks about the best way she takes care of herself  and how she is able to unwind after a work week.

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This week I attended a lengthy training in self care in preparation for supervising the next generation of social workers, aka interns. Statistics were thrown around. We were told what we should do, We were told, take care of yourself or this profession will eat you up! Alert! Burnout! Excluded from the training were the never ending internal debates that pop up when addressing self care.

Whose needs are more important? The clients of mine? What is the best way to address the client’s needs? Being immediately available or taking time away from clients to go to trainings and develop my professional skills?

Even the thought of answering these questions feels less like self care and more like stress inducing.

The new year has begun and with it comes resolutions, wish lists, intentions and gym memberships.

My mantra for the year is “Spend less time on your cell phone and more time dancing.”

I find it a struggle to go dancing despite it being in the top 5 on my lust of things I love. I work at an elementary school and have to be engaging at 7:30 am. Meanwhile all of the popular dancing nights are on Thursday starting at 10pm, which is really late for me.

When I can find enough energy to go out dancing late at the end of the week, I find myself anxious standing at the bar wondering, “Will I remember the steps? Will someone ask me to dance?”

When I do get asked, because inevitably you do, I step out on to the floor and as I move into the basic steps, the muscle memory kicks in. Half way through the first turn I am smiling.

The week spins out of me as if it were water wrung from a wet shirt in my hands. My dance partner always asks, “What are you laughing at?” To which there is no response and I can only feel, I am happy.

This training combined with a recent evening of dancing makes me wonder if this is the essence of self care- doing the things we love that make us beam. For me, self care doesn’t mean going to a training that only statistically confirms what I intrinsically know. It’s being spun.

Emily Sasser is a LMSW living and working in Austin, TX. She is a Program Manager for Communities in Schools of Central Texas. She loves her job, her dog, her community and most of all, dancing.

– Jessica

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