Has your school experienced loss, been effected by natural disasters, or had a particularly stressful year? If so, you know the feeling of seeing your staff overwhelmed by stress. What can you do to help?
Take Care of Yourself
First, put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. Assess the stressor that is happening in your school community, and consider how that stressor is affecting you. Create space in your daily routine to take care of your own mental health. See some Confident Counselor tips for self care if you need some new ideas.
Find A Support System
Think about who in your building has the capacity to be support for others right now. It may be your administrator, a teacher, or even the community. Ask these people to join you in helping the climate of the school. Get together over coffee or on a walk around campus after school to chat about what might help your school.
Circle of Control
Think about the causes of the stress happening in the building. What is within your circle of control and what is outside of your control? I once worked in a building where the climate was really struggling due to actions by the administrators. I didn’t have control over the actions of others but I was able to work with a group of colleagues to increase the positive interactions between staff. We scheduled potlucks on teacher workdays, started giving staff shout outs at staff meetings and started a random act of kindness chain.
Social Emotional Learning for Staff
You teach social emotional learning for students throughout your day, do you think your staff could benefit from the same learning? I recently listened to an interview by Elena Aguilar who wrote the book Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators. In her book, she goes through activities for each month that can help staff to building their own resilience and prevent burnout. I can’t wait to dive in. If that’s more than you can take on, consider sharing what you are teaching students to increase continuity all the while sharing the skill.
Bring in Help
If your school has experienced trauma or loss, bring in help! It’s not all on you. There may be nonprofit agencies that can send support or you can ask other counselors in your district to come in and help. It can’t be only on you!
If it’s been a tough year for you, we’re sending all our love and healing to you and your staff. What are you tips for supporting your staff in hard times?