Prioritising the welfare and wellbeing of yourself and others

Published: 17/11/2023

Author: Claire Williams

How prioritising your own wellbeing can support the wellbeing of the people you are supporting.

When you’re on a flight, there is always the safety announcement that tells you to fit your own oxygen mask before you fit your child’s mask or help someone else out with theirs. Often our natural response in an emergency, is to, of course, help a child, or someone else who appears to need support – so why would we be reminded to look after ourselves first?

There is good reason for putting your own mask on first. We can only help another person when we are able to breathe properly ourselves. Far from being selfish, the action of securing our own oxygen supply first is essential to us being able to help others. We cannot help others effectively, without also caring for ourselves.

This year the Safeguarding Adults Week theme looks at how you can prioritise the welfare and wellbeing of yourself and others. When we are working to safeguard people we aim to ensure that they can live their lives free from harm, which is essential for their health and wellbeing. However, safeguarding can be an emotionally challenging responsibility, and we must look after our own wellbeing and build and maintain our emotional resilience to ensure we can support others (Grant et al, 2020).

Highlighted below is a selection of resources that can help you to think about building and maintaining resilience and prioritising wellbeing – from your wellbeing as an individual to the role of leaders and managers supporting wellbeing in your organisation. There are also resources to support your work in safeguarding that can bolster your knowledge and ensure you have the tools you need to do your best work – which can in turn support your wellbeing.

Supporting practitioner wellbeing: Practice Guide

This guide aims to support social care practitioners, to repair, maintain, grow and sustain positive mental health and wellbeing – it provides lots of tasks and strategies that you can use and keep in a toolkit that will support your self-care and in turn help you to continue to support others effectively in your professional practice.

How to switch off: recovery, work life balance and wellbeing

This webinar highlights the importance of detachment from work worries and concerns and strategies to help people develop healthy boundaries between their work and personal life.

The Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic

The role of leaders and managers is key in creating the conditions for individuals to build and maintain resilience to support wellbeing. The Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic (SWORD) is a dedicated tool and workbook aims to improve organisational resilience for all practitioners in social care contexts and the understanding resilience chapter demonstrates how resilient individuals are supported by resilient teams, emotionally literate leaders, and wider organisational strategies for resilience. The chapter on sense of appreciation can help when considering ways to celebrate successes and show colleagues how much value they have and the chapter on wellbeing supports workers feel able to thrive, in a job that is rewarding and manageable which can make a difference to the adults and carers they are supporting.

SWORD also has a video resource that guides you through the workbook chapters and highlights useful tasks and strategies. 

In this blog Sam Clayton, Head of Effective Practice and Quality Assurance at North Yorkshire Council, reflects on how SWORD has been a helpful tool and how the council plan to use it annually to support wellbeing across the organisation.

The SWORD workbook chapter on being a learning organisation highlights that to be resilient, an organisation needs to ensure that learning and development is at the heart of all that they do. Also, how it is important to have an evidence-informed approach to improving practice.

There are lots of evidence-informed resources available to support learning around safeguarding. Having the tools in your back pocket can help build confidence that you can do your best work which can bolster wellbeing. This in turn will provide confidence and assurance to the people you are supporting.

The Safety Matters Handbook brings research and practice together to identify what works best in safeguarding. This will support you in preventing both the risk of, and the experience of, abuse and neglect and promote wellbeing for people drawing on services.

The Making Safeguarding Personal toolkit developed with the Local Government Association offers a range of helpful tools and practice-based case examples. This webinar will give you an overview of resources to support Making Safeguarding Personal in practice.

Claire Williams

Claire works with partners across Children’s and Adults Services and leads on specific topics for the annual delivery programme. Claire joined Research in Practice in 2018 having previously worked in Policy and Partnerships for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield, where she worked closely with government departments and non-governmental organisations. Claire has previous experience of working in learning support for young offenders and students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties. She has a keen interest in co-production and how the perspectives of people with lived experience can be included in service design and delivery.


Grant, L., Kinman, G & Alexander, K 2020. Wellbeing. The Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic (SWORD) workbook. Research in Practice.