Self-care for school counselors is an important aspect of your routine as a helping professional. Holding yourself accountable is key to building the resiliency you need to care for others. Unfortunately, caring for yourself is often placed on the back burner because you might feel like there’s not enough time or energy, for self-care.
You may even feel selfish for taking the time to focus on yourself.
But what if you looked at it from a different perspective?
Think of it like this: if you’re in your best mental and physical shape, you can show up for your students and school staff when they need you the most.
In other words, the quality of care you give will be much better if you’re feeling good yourself.
When you put it that way, self-care is non-negotiable. Yay for you!
But it’s easier said than done, right?
There’s a lot more to self-care than just a day at the spa. In fact, there are six facets of self-care that need your attention. Implementing self-care activities from each of these facets will help you produce a holistic self-care regime. Once you’ve mastered these for yourself, you will be ready to educate staff with these tips!
Don’t worry, these tips are easy to implement in everyday life!
Mental Health Self-Care Tips for School Counselors
When we’re talking about mental self-care, we’re talking about activities that stimulate your mind and encourage cognitive growth (two things that keep your mind in tip-top shape).
All this leads to better brain function, and of course, better problem-solving skills—which we all know is important when managing a classroom or helping a student 1:1.
All you need, to keep your mind firing on all cylinders, is a few moments of time to spend on yourself doing something mentally stimulating.
Here are a few easy ways to incorporate mental health self-care into your daily routine:
- Keep a personal journal (on your computer or with one of these handy journals).
- Read a book or magazine simply for pleasure. Nope, you don’t have to be learning a new professional skill…but you can if you’d like!.
- Become more mindful about your thoughts and take note of the negative ones … and then release them.
- Play old school board games again. Pick the ones that challenge your thinking and problem solving.
Physical Self-Care Tips For School Counselors
Not surprisingly, physical self-care includes activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, like exercising, eating right, going to the doctor regularly for routine checkups.
These activities are no-brainers, but the following additional ways to take care of your physical self often go overlooked:
- Taking breaks.
- Sleeping when you need it. Yes, nap if you’re tired. (You have my permission).
- Putting routine wellness checks on your calendar and then sticking to them.
- Combining something you like to do with a physical activity that you don’t normally enjoy. Examples: bird watching while taking a jog or making up new dance moves to your favorite songs.
While this facet of self-care may coincide with mental self-care, it focuses specifically on your emotions by allowing them to exist without judging yourself for how you feel.
When you allow yourself to feel emotions as they surface, not only will you feel relieved instead of a pressure pot of emotions, but you’ll also prevent your emotions from interfering with your day-to-day responsibilities.
Ways to practice emotional self-care:
- When you feel sad, allow yourself to cry. Loudly if necessary, no shame in the ugly cry.
- If you’re angry, use exercise to release the negativity or invest in a legit punching bag.
- Prevent overwhelm by saying no when you’re simply too busy.
- Meditate and become more mindful of your thoughts and emotions.
Practical Self-Care Tips for School Counselors
Getting your life in check is an easy way to reduce stress and enhance feelings of accomplishment, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by disorganization.
Keeping a clean house, record-keeping, and checking things off your to-do list are all ways you can clear the clutter from your life so you can get ahead of all those seemingly little things that cause disorder.
Examples of practical self-care for school counselors:
- Organize to be more efficient in day-to-day life.
- Use a calendar to remind yourself of important dates. It’ll let your brain relax.
- Keep your workspace and home clutter-free.
- Pay your bills ahead of time to prevent panic and feel accomplished.
- Collaborate with other professionals to relieve some of your workload.
- Hold yourself accountable for self-care with this free habit tracker.
Relationship Self-Care for School Counselors
When we think of relationship self-care we often think about what we are, or aren’t, doing for others close to us. But the truth is, when you foster healthy relationships with loved ones, you’re also gifting yourself a strong support system to reach out to when needed.
Examples of relationship self-care activities may include:
- Being social in the teachers’ lounge or going to school events for FUN.
- Be intentional about fostering your friendships. Be the friend you would like to have.
- Setting boundaries with coworkers and family members to protect your time and privacy.
- Be helpful to others. Seek out ways to help.
Spiritual Self-Care for School Counselors
As humans, it’s only natural to experience feelings of hopelessness and dread, and that’s why spiritual self-care is important to your routine. For example, connecting with nature and meditating can promote self-reflection, help you feel more connected, grounded, as well as provide emotional clarity.
Here are some spiritual self-care activities:
- Believe in a set of moral standards.
- Spend time in nature.
- Meditate regularly.
- Pray, if you’re religious.
- Keep a daily gratitude or self-care journal.
If you can start implementing these six facets of self-care into your daily routine, they’ll become habitual. And even though it may feel like you’re spending a lot of time on yourself at first, you’re actually freeing up your mind and your energy, so you can be your best self for yourself, your loved ones, and your students.