President's Letter: The Gift of Self-Care
It's December and the school year is in full swing! Holidays are approaching, students are in our offices and school counselors are as busy as ever. This time of the year can feel like one of the busiest times, which is why I think it's an important time to take care of ourselves.It's December and the school year is in full swing! Holidays are approaching, students are in our offices and school counselors are as busy as ever. This time of the year can feel like one of the busiest times, which is why I think it's an important time to take care of ourselves. Self-care should not be seen as a luxury for school counselors and educators, but as an expectation and a necessity. One of our primary roles with our students is empowering them to take care of themselves, forgive themselves, solve problems and develop positive coping strategies. We cannot forget to do this for ourselves, as it is equally important so that we can be our best, not only for ourselves, but for our students.
Did you know the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors actually address self-care as an ethical mandate? B.3.f. states that school counselors should monitor their emotional and physical health and practice wellness to ensure optimal professional effectiveness. When we're not taking care of ourselves, we can't do our best for our students. The quote that never gets old to me is, “Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others with their mask.” It stands so true when it comes to self-care as school counselors.
Self-care can mean different things for different people – maybe it means attending professional development, spending time with family and friends, quiet walks in the evening, connecting with your school counselor colleagues, or just taking time to meditate throughout the day by sitting still, breathing and listening to your body. Find what works for you and practice it. I have found it helpful to develop my own professional and personal support systems with those who re-energize me and also remind me to take time to myself.
As you begin to enter the new year, remind yourself to be good to yourself. Start implementing little parts of your day to take a break, breathe, go on a walk, allow yourself to feel emotions throughout the day and talk with supportive people around you. School counseling is a challenging career by nature. Inevitably, you will have days when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, and your goal will be to just get through that day. When that day comes, rely on your self-care strategies.
For those of you who value professional development as part of your self-care routine, CASC is striving to provide relevant professional development opportunities for you to learn, grow and rejuvenate your school counseling self. Please be on the lookout for future opportunities coming your way in the new year!
Contact Amy Dauble-Madigan, CASC president and a school counselor with Culver City Unified School District, at firstname.lastname@example.org.