Dear school counselors,
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You fight diligently for our children to feel safe, heard, and supported. You often put your students’ needs before your own (bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, any form of break). You are sometimes incorrectly referred to as “guidance counselor” when that is not your title (you are the counselor of the school). You are typically understaffed, under supported, and often experience a ratio of 1 counselor to 471 students.
Inevitably, there will be days where you will feel stressed, overwhelmed, and your goal will be to just survive. When that day comes, here are some self-care tips you probably already know but are easy to forget when anyone needs it most.
10 Self-Care Tips for School Counselors.
1. Remember your WHY.
Why did you originally want to become a school counselor? Did you have an impactful school counselor as a child? Think back to why you choose this profession.
2. Write a gratitude letter.
Send a letter to someone who you are grateful for and tell them why. This can be a close friend, mentor, a parent, anyone who comes to mind!
3. Take a break.
Take your lunch break, that bathroom break, and any well-deserved break. To put it simply, you deserve a break. Allow yourself to rest.
4. Walk away from the teacher’s lounge.
I’m going to guess if you are feeling stressed, the teachers might be feeling similar. Allow yourself to have some physical distance from any complaining or gossiping.
5. Listen to music.
Find a good playlist on Pandora or Spotify and jam out. Maybe dance along, too.
6. Go on a walk.
Sneak out a side door and take a quick walk in the sunshine. Consider having a group session outside if it’s a nice day. A little vitamin D can go a long way for you and your students.
7. Read old thank you letters.
Over the years, save thank you letters you receive from your students, their parents, and teachers. Create a “warm and fuzzy drawer” and read them to remember how important your work is for the community.
8. Allow yourself to feel upset.
As you know, when we bottle up our emotions they tend to magnify and grow over time. If you can find a minute or two, close your door and cry or scream into a pillow, the release will help diminish the magnitude of the emotion.
9. Talk with a supportive co-worker.
While the work you do is different from teachers and administrative employees, having someone listen to you for a few minutes can help you feel more connected and appreciated.
10. Consider seeing a counselor.
If this rough day is part of a rough week or a rough month, consider seeing a counselor. As you know, counselors need counselors just like doctors need doctors! Asking for help is the bravest thing anyone can do and having a nonbiased and supportive person on your team can help diminish overwhelming anxiety and sadness.