From Rebecca at Counselor Up
Here’s what I’ve learned- every body is stressed. No matter what your job, your hours, or your home life, there are stressors. Call it the new way of life or whatever. When you read stories about self-care, you often see things about making time for yourself, exercising, having a massage, or slowing down. As a member of a profession where you can’t phone it in on a bad day and where you are going all. the. time. Who has time for that?
What does self care really mean in actual life? Self care is filling your cup before it’s empty so that you have enough to give. For me, that means making things easier and not harder, setting small goals for taking care of my physical self, and having some fun once in awhile. There’s a reason that we call it “practicing” self care, it takes practice. Self care is really about changing the way that you go about your day in order to take care of yourself. To fill your cup so that you can pour your energy into what you love.
Make Things Easier and Not Harder
We’re all different in how we can make things easier and not harder. I like to prep things way in advance so I don’t feel stressed out. It might seem counter-intuitive but it really does help. In the moment, I know I’m good because it’s done and I don’t have to worry.
Sometimes the best way to make things easier is to let go. Cross it off your list. That perfect holiday bulletin board? Forget it. The five course meal you were going to make for your friends? Order take out. Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Honestly, people enjoy being around not-perfect people more. When you’re stressed, everyone around you is stressed and that’s no fun!
Take Care of Your Physical Self
Each school year, I try to make a self-care goal. Two years ago it was to leave by 4:00 (a 9 hour day). I didn’t always leave at 4 but I left “early” more often than I would have without the goal. Last year, my goal was to eat during the day. I had been so busy that I wasn’t stopping to have any food and then I was completely useless by the end of the day. To help yourself, think about the times of the day when you feel like you are at complete empty. What would help you to have more energy? Eating? Walking? Going Home? Then do it.
Have Some Fun
It’s really important for me to have fun with the people that I work with. I try to schedule occasionally happy hour get togethers. At my last two schools, I was in charge of the social list. Everyone was invited to join and then I would send any invites out from the staff for happy hours, pick up games, concerts, or any other fun happenings going on.
I also instituted staff shout outs at both schools. Staff could give compliments to each other and spread the cheer at each monthly staff meeting. I’m a complete social butterfly so these kinds of things really are fun and add to my energy level during the year.
So what will it be? How can you practice self-care right now? A massage is nice but if you just walk right back into your stressful life, what’s the use?
I work in central office supporting 140+ elementary school counselors in a large southern school district. I have been a counselor since 2003 and love working with parents, teachers, students, and other counselors. I try to be organized and proactive in my counseling program. Counselor Up is my way to share some of the ideas, organizing tools, and planning with you!
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