Monday, January 7, 2013

Self Care

In our classroom guidance lessons, small groups, and individual counseling sessions, we so often teach about coping strategies.  In my school, we teach about Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw--we even have a class about it in our "specials" rotation.  It's so funny that we spend all of this time teaching our kids this important habit, but often forget to do it ourselves.  So often, I find myself feeling like i'm right below the surface of the water--just paddling and paddling trying to get my head up, but not quite there.  It's easy for us counselors to feel this way--we take on everyone's issues while trying to balance our daily schedules and comprehensive counseling programs at the same time.  When I get like this, I know that I'm not dedicating enough time to self care.  I decided to put together a list of some ways that help me sharpen the saw, that I think could be helpful for any counselor.

  • Schedule a lunch!  I learned this lesson pretty quickly.  My first year or so was definitely a learning experience, and I figured out that stuff was going to come up!  Issues would come up, and before I knew it, the bell was ringing at the end of the day and I didn't eat a thing.  Every day, I have my schedule written out in my daily planner.  When i'm making my schedule-making time for students, classroom guidance lessons, and groups-I also schedule my lunch.  I dedicate 30 minutes to it.  It's written in my schedule and when something else comes up that I need to schedule, it has to be at a different time, or the next day.  My lunch is at a different time each day due to scheduling, but every day--it's in there.
  • Leave some openings.  On the same note, I also try to keep a couple of openings in my day.  I schedule the most important things first and then fill in with other things.  This year, I have been giving myself 15-30 minutes at the end of the day to catch up on writing my notes, finish up phone calls, or take care of emergencies that come up.  My school is on a block schedule, so I pretty much know the times that I can meet with kids, which makes scheduling this a little easier.
  • Leave on time on Friday.  I got this idea from another blogger, and it's something that I try to do as well.  We stay late so many days, so Friday is my day that I can leave right on time.  Every now and then a meeting comes up, but if not, I'm out the door!
  • Keep it at school.  There are 2 parts to this. 
    •  When you leave school, allow yourself to process the day on the ride home, and then leave it there.  Whatever chaos happened that day, whatever sad story you heard, leave it at school.  This is so hard to do, but it is important too.  While you're at school--work your hardest at helping the situation, but once you leave, it is no longer in your circle of influence.  Focus your time on things you enjoy, your family, your pets, and your friends.
    • If at all possible, try not to take schoolwork home with you.  I really strive to do this.  I am more likely to stay late after school, or taking time during the day to finish things up so that I don't have to take them home with me.  My time at home is dedicated to my family, myself, and my dog! 
  • Find a hobby.  This is something that I'm trying to dedicate more time to.  Go out and learn to do something new--crafting, hiking, bike riding, etc. 
  • Get outside.  There really is nothing quite like a breath of fresh air!  Make sure that you spend some time outside, doing something active.  What a great way to refresh yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Network.  Blogging has changed my life!  Reading experiences from other bloggers, and writing my own blog has reinspired me.  I feel refreshed, and I know that anytime that I'm feeling down or helpless, I can read school counseling blogs to get back on track.
Here's a picture with me and my #1 self care helper!

1 comment:

  1. I am in school working to be a professional school counselor and I love the tips to take care of myself. Thanks for the advice! :)