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School Counselor Self-Care

As we sit in the middle of winter, many of us are probably feeling the “blues.” Students, teachers, and parents are getting restless as we await Photo: BSGStudiowarmer weather and the end of the school year, and we school counselors are busy trying to get our seniors to the end of the year and preparing for registration for 2019-2020.

If you are like me, you are already in a windowless office all day, you come to work in the dark, and you leave when it’s dark. All of these things can add up to feeling stressed, tired, and even sad. February and March seem to get especially long as we await spring break or your long Easter break that is extra-late this year. Self-care is important all year, but especially this time of year. Below I shared some tips and resources to help you stay focused and keep you going through these long winter months. 

  • Establish an exercise routine - this is especially hard in the winter when it is cold and dark. Find a buddy to take a walk after school or grab your dog for an evening walk, use a YouTube yoga video (I like Yoga With Adriene), or use an app to do an at-home workout (Nike Training Club is my favorite free one). You can often find me walking with my dog with layers of clothes in our brightly lit neighborhood after school. On the weekends, I take my dog for hikes at local parks - just remember to bring some boots that can get muddy as the spring thaw starts.
  • Practice Mindfulness - This has gotten really easy over the last year as tons of free apps and websites have popped up to give you basic tips on how to practice this. The Headspace (Apple App Store & Google Play) App and an easy read from Dan Harris titled 10% Happier are all great ways get started.
  • Unplug - Try a week of technology “detox.” Delete your social media apps from your cell phone/tablet and commit to logout for one full week. IPhones make it easier to track your your screen time with the most recent updates. You will be amazed how much time you are spending on your phone now compared to when you start your “detox.” Check out this article from Psychology Today to find out more:
  • Focus on a healthy(ier) diet - Many of us (or our friends) have had dieting goals for the New Year. Instead of taking on a whole new diet by doing Whole30 or the Keto Diet, try adding in a serving of fruits and vegetables each day or drinking more water. You can also have a stock of healthy snacks in your desk for when you are feeling hungry. Some of my coworkers keep large bags of almonds and grab a handful when they are feeling hungry. I keep a water bottle in my office that I can fill up each day and try to finish it before I leave school.
  • Make plans with friends and family - During the winter, it is easy to go into hibernation mode. Check out your community to see what activities are going on around you to get out of the house. In Cedar Rapids, we have events at NewBo Market on the weekends, various sporting events, art exhibits, and live theater. Check out your local city’s event pages to get ideas.
○     Iowa City
○     Cedar Rapids
○     Council Bluffs/Omaha
○     Des Moines
○     Dubuque
○     Quad Cities
○     Sioux City
By taking time to reconnect with ourselves, live a healthy lifestyle, and connect with others, we can ensure that we make it through the blah’s and push through to the end of the school year!
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