Youth worker self care over Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the youth service agency there were youth workers running around like headless chickens because they had young people who needed support.
It is a story I hear every year. youth workers who are missing out on holidays and family time because they are working to support young people who arent having that great a time either. Whether in residential services, rehabilitation and detox, street outreach or the local drop-in thousands of our colleagues will be working through the Christmas period. I myself have had my  fair share of working Christmas’s and I know how hard it can be to be away from friends and family at this time.
So here are a few tips to bring some holiday cheer to those of us who are still working:
  1. Have a special Christmas lunch. Do something different even if it is getting a cooked chook from your local supermarket and eating it out of the bag (as I did in 2006 with a great colleague at the time). If you have a few young people around it will make them feel like someone cares.
  2. Have the Christmas carols playing in the background. Now im not saying that you should have the wiggles christmas CD playing but find some good Christmas carols and let them rip. Good carols performed well are quite soothing.
  3. Find some time for you. Even if it is nicking out for a coffee for 15 minutes on a break take some time to reflect on the joy of the season and the year gone by.
  4. Say high to friends and family, even if it is a short phone call.
  5. Remember that the work you are doing is going to bring joy to a lot of young people in a season that often brings them a lot of sadness.
If you do these five things you will have a cracking Christmas even though you are at work.
P.S. once the Cristmas season is over, get a break away even if its just a long weekend… Prices are usually cheaper then anyway. 

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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