Self-Care and Community-Care for School Counselors

I don’t know what else to call these times. Cray-cray seems to fit, because surreal doesn’t seem to cut it. The toxic stress that is going on in this world, and therefore trickling into our schools .. it’s just a lot for all educators. As school counselors, we are always thinking, “Maybe next week things will slow down?” And it doesn’t. And it just seems that the pace of things is so much faster now than even 5 years ago, right? The behaviors more extreme and the things piled on our plates are constantly overflowing.

We MUST take care of ourselves! This topic resonated with my audience, when I delivered a PD recently (shout out to the fab counselors of Fulton County in GA of which I am a product of elementary, middle, and high school). In talking to them about self-care, it became apparent that we seriously all need to put these ideas in to action AND!!!!!….it’s not just about self-care of mental-health days and going for a spa treatment, but promoting a culture of community care that is crucial to having a positive school environment. (It currently happens at mine for sure and I am super lucky to have a 2nd family at Blackwell Elementary!)

And while I know not everyone is as lucky, and my school hasn’t always been peaches and butterflies… at least the following 3 things can be initiated by those of us who value the importance of self-care and community care. Because the cray-cray days will keep on coming, and we can do it so much better by having ‘peeps’ at work.

So what can you do to create community care? Here are 3 ideas:

Eat Lunch with Grown Ups That You Like: At least twice a week. Having 30 minutes of adult conversation is healthy for your brain and helps you like where you work.

Send Memes/Texts: This is the new hallmark card. Send texts and messages to the people you care about both in and out of work. You can communicate your compassion for people going through a rough time, and people appreciate those notes. And then when you are down, the compassion will come back to ya.

Wellness Challenges: At my school we do this about once a year. It creates bonding and wellness too. Anyone who wants to de-fluff, competes for 6-8 weeks against themselves. All can win, Our nurse weighs us in at the start date and everyone’s goal is to lose 4% of their body weight. All put 20$ in, and all winners split the pot. Message me for details of how we do this if interested.

While these steps towards creating ‘community care’ will not stop the issue of educators being over-stressed and over-stretched, it will at least help you love where you work just a little more.

What are your favorite ways to promote a self-care/community-care culture at your school?

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