The Importance of Self Care for Educators- Especially School Counselors
In the world of education, the adults in the building take care of the little people in the building. But who takes care of the adults? Day in and day out the adults deal with all kinds of situations from students losing parents, losing students, student relationship drama, teacher concerns, etc. I could go on and on but you get the point. The bottom line is that the adults are constantly caring for others that they do not take the time to care for themselves.
How many times have you stayed longer than necessary on your job just to finish that one last thing? How many times have you denied yourself getting a manicure and pedicure or taken yourself to dinner and a movie? If you are like most educators, the answers are that you stay longer on your job to finish up and you know you need that manicure and pedicure but you just simply do not have time. The problem arises when we take care of everyone else EXCEPT ourselves!
Why is this a problem? How can we effectively help others when we are not taking care of ourselves? Many educators do not see this as a problem. One of the main problems is stress. An educator’s job is very stressful. Educators constantly deal with students, parents, administration and all of the outside forces. Counselors have the same stress deal with only on another level. Counselors deal with many outside forces and still have to put on a brave face and be professional and handle all things like a boss. Sometimes we just want to leave our job and go home and get in the bed. The things counselors deal with vary from day to day from crying students to crying parents and/or staff. Counselors are also the ones who may get the call that a child is missing or that a child has been hurt or killed in an accident. Those are some of the most painful parts of the counseling job. When dealing with all of that, how in the world can we not take care of ourselves? We must not take ourselves for granted. We have to care for ourselves so that we can adequately care for others.
I believe the answer to my burning question is that we forget. We are so busy with others that we forget! I was guilty of this myself and I had to make some changes. As counselors we take on so much and we have to in order to make our students feel safe. We must also remember to take care of ourselves in the midst of it all.
Here are some things you can do to care for yourself so that you are prepared to help others:
- Take a bubble bath/hot shower
- Go for a long walk
- Get a manicure and pedicure
- Read a good book
- Keep a journal of positive affirmations
- Treat yourself to dinner and a movie
- Hang out with your friends and have stimulating conversations
- Have a spa day (facial, manicure, pedicure and massage)
- Practice yoga
- Practice positive self-talk
- Ask for help
- Take a day or weekend trip and explore some area you have not explored
In addition to these tips, check out these websites to get more ideas:
These are just a few things that you can do. You must also to remember to do something each time you feel that you need to release some stress. It should be routine- considering all that counselors have to endure, but it must be done. You can do anything that will get your mind on YOU to help you prepare for the next day and the next student! Remember, we have to take care of ourselves if we are to properly take care of others.
Be kind to yourself and continue to help others.
By: Dr. Robyn Medlock