AAHHHH.....winter break! In my case it is Christmas break, but no matter what holiday, if any, you celebrate, I think we can safely say it is truly "the most wonderful time of the year." I took this silly pic below and posted it to Facebook the last day of school (tongue in cheek), but it pretty much captures the excitement I felt at having 16 days off of school.
I haven't even thought about school the last 7 days, which has been wonderfully refreshing, and I hope you have also had time to recharge, relax, enjoy the ones you love, and put a little sparkle back in your step during this vacation. Last year, I closed out 2014 with this post, a look back at my top accomplishments and moments of 2014. I loved reminding myself of the good I had done for myself, my school and students throughout the year. I could do the same this year: achieving RAMP designation, giving my second ASCA presentation in Phoenix, surviving a huge move to a new home, school system, and way of life; however, I'm more interested in looking forward this year.
I recently read this blog post at The Sunday Chapter, and it really resonated with me. We talk to our students all the time about ways they can change their thoughts or change their feelings when faced with challenges. I have my groups role-play calm-down strategies and positive self talk all the time, but do we have our list ready when things are starting to go downhill for us? We may not need 25. In fact, I think my "go to" 10 below are plenty to get me back on track. No matter how many you have, the important fact is that you have them written down, tucked in your mirror or wallet, taped to your computer screen, or whatever visual reminder you need to actually use them.
Burnout is one of the top concerns for the school counseling profession. Those of us in our first, second, and third decades of the profession know this is a legitimate concern, and my goal for 2016 is to take more moments to pause (and use the bathroom..ha!), cut myself some slack, and enjoy each day. Life is short. So, here are my TOP 10 instant mood lifters.....what are yours?! ***Be sure to include at least a few activities you can do at work.
1. Spend time with family
2. Run (Still not sure about this one, read this post)
3. Arts and crafts. Usually I do these with my daughter but have you noticed the adult coloring craze?! I love this book.
4. Curl up with a book (or even better...book club + wine = magic)
*5. Pray or meditate...whatever your perogative. I do both.
6. Call a friend or family member. Don't text. Don't Snapchat. Physically pick up the phone and connect with a loved one for at least 20 minutes.
7. Plan something fun on your calendar. There is nothing like having something fun to look forward to that instantly brightens your mood. It can be planning to try a new restaurant, go to a movie, get away for the weekend....anything!
8. Snuggle with one of my kiddos (a partner, dog, or other animal would work too!)
*9. Listen to a TED talk. There is nothing like perspective to make you feel better, and these are so short you can listen to them while getting ready in the morning, driving to work, or eating lunch.
*10. Breathe. It is simple but true. Taking deep breaths relaxes my body and helps clear my head. I have learned all too often that a stressed brain cannot make good choices, and I try to practice this one often.
So, school counselor friends, may 2016 be your best year yet. Enjoy each day and Happy Counseling!