5 Summer Self-Care Tips for School Counselors

Self-care. It's a buzzword for a reason! Burnout is real and while self-care is important all year long, summer is a great time to take advantage of the time out of school to recharge. Check out these 5 summer self-care tips to help you enjoy your break and feel prepared for next school year.

Summer Self-Care Tip 1: Tie Up Loose Ends

Instead of only being reactive when it comes to self-care (taking a bubble bath because you are stressed out), you can be proactive (going to the gym each week because it makes you feel good). One way to be proactive in your self-care as a school counselor is to tie up any loose ends. This means wrapping up your groups, tracking data, and helping students find closure. For tips on exactly how to do this, read this blog post.

Tying up loose ends is the ultimate preventative self-care. That way when you're relaxing by the pool this summer you aren't thinking about that student you forgot to touch base with, data you didn't track, or parent whose call you didn't return. Your mind can truly rest and relax knowing that everything is taken care of until you return. If not, it's like the Sunday Scaries but worse...the Summer Scaries! Don't let an anxiety-inducing to-do list ruin your summer. The extra effort you take now to close out everything will pay off later.

self care tips for school counselors

Summer Self-Care Tip 2: Establish a Morning Routine

I know what you're thinking, routine? That's the opposite of summer break! But hear me out. A morning routine can be so beneficial to your overall well-being. I think we all know this, but the reality of getting up even earlier on school days can be tough, making summer the perfect time to start one!

What's in my morning routine:

  1. mindfulness practice

  2. journaling

  3. visualization

  4. exercise

1. Mindfulness Practice: We are always teaching our students mindfulness techniques, but are you practicing them? I'll admit a daily mindfulness practice can be tough to commit to. It's one of those things you don't always feel like doing but then are so glad you did (kind of like exercising)! Sooner or later you'll realize a mood change on days you miss your routine, and after practicing for a couple of years, I've noticed an overall calmness and lack of impulsivity when it comes to handling conflicts. These were traits of my personality I didn't think were change-able!

So what exactly do you do for a mindfulness routine? You can practice meditation or prayer. I do a mix of both. Guided meditations are a great place to start. I've been doing this for a while and rarely mediate without a guided audio. I like to use these free ones on Insight Timer. It helps me to stay focused. Don't let the spiritual nature of a mindfulness practice intimidate you. You can simply practice mindfulness by noticing your breath.

Have students who would benefit from mindfulness? Check out these mindful morning routine boom cards!

self care

2. Journaling: Writing in a journal doesn't have to be like a diary. You don't need to write daily and when you do it doesn't have to be a recount of what you did. Try making a list of your fears and anxieties. Naming them and getting them out of your mind and on to paper helps them seem more manageable.

Need a mood booster? Try writing a simple gratitude list. Nothing is too small. Think cup of coffee, favorite TV show, etc. If you're feeling especially introspective try writing a letter to yourself! I write in my journal a couple of times a week and I find it so helpful in processing my thoughts and feelings. I also earmark a page when I write a goal and then go back and revisit them to see if I met the goal or what has changed since then.

I found this podcast episode helpful on discussing the different types of journaling.

3. Visualization: A morning routine is a great time to visualize your goals. Visualization goes deeper than traditional goal setting. Close your eyes and visualize what it will look like when you reach your goal. Imagine how it would make you feel to accomplish it, then notice how it makes you feel in the present moment.

4. Exercise: Start your day with a run, walk, or quick yoga flow. Getting up and moving first thing boosts your mood and helps you feel like you already accomplished something when you're chilling at the pool later!

Use the summer months as a time to try out a new morning routine of fine-tune one you already have. Take what works for you and leave what doesn't. Not only can it help bring some sanity to your summer months, but you'll already have an established routine when back to school season rolls around.

Summer Self-Care Tip 3: Read for PD and Pleasure

As an educator, I'm sure you love to get lost in a good book. And you probably have a "to-read" list a mile long if you're anything like me! But let's be real, we don't always have time to read during the school year. The summer months are a great time to catch up on your guilty pleasure beach reads and some professional development finds too.

3 Types of Books to Read this Summer

1. Fiction: Summer is all about getting the rest and relaxation you need so you can be your best counselor self in the fall. Losing yourself in a fiction novel is a great way to escape (especially if you aren't planning on taking a real vacation this year!).

I read these recently and they stuck with me!

counseling self care tip

2. Professional Development: As school counselors, it is imperative that we stay on top of our game and are up to date with new educational trends. This way we can best support our students. While I'm sure you get plenty of PD trainings throughout the school year, you likely don't have time to comb through some books on the side.

Here are some of my favorites I've read over the past few years:

3. Personal Development: I've grown to love the self-improvement genre over the last couple of years. If you're feeling in a slump in your career, social, or personal life these books are a great way to reframe your thinking, set goals, and fuel your motivation! I like to keep a journal nearby to take notes.

I found these two impactful:

I love to use the Goodreads app to track my books. They even have annual reading challenges you can set for yourself!

Looking for books for your counseling library? Read this blog post with my recommendations.

Summer Self-Care Tip 4: Go Shopping!

While technically any kind of shopping can be fun self-care every now and then, I'm specifically talking about shopping for your office. Buy a new rug or throw pillow for your calm down corner. Or grab some fancy folders and a planner to get organized. Picking up something small next time you're at Target is a fun treat and will get you excited about the upcoming school year!

shopping

Are you a first year counselor or on a budget? If you're still paying off your grad school student loans (I feel ya!) you may not even be thinking about buying items for your office. It can be tempting to compare your office to other counselors on Instagram, but remember creativity is greater than cash! There are plenty of DIY ideas on Pinterest. Decorate your bulletin boards, repurpose household items you're getting rid of, etc. I found a cool lamp by a dumpster in an alley my first year and spray painted it! It looked awesome.

Working from home? I know many schools are still waiting to hear if they will be doing partial distance learning in the fall, or maybe you know that you are 100% virtual again. No worries, creating an inviting home office space is equally as important. It will make you feel more professional than the makeshift one you were likely using during the spring.

Read this blog post on tips for making your counseling office hygge and check out my Amazon store to see my office recommendations.

Looking to shop for curriculum more than office decor? Grab my school counseling super bundle to get small groups, guidance lessons, and data tracking tools for every occasion!

Summer Self-Care Tip 5: Relax

I don't have much of a tip today except to remind you to simply relax! If you're going on a vacation, try to take the time to intentionally unplug and truly be present in your new destination.

Not traveling? I know many summer travel plans were disrupted this year, but try taking a staycation in your own city or doing something special at home. Summer flies by and some of you will be prepping for back to school as soon as mid-July! Enjoy this well-deserved time off to recharge.

relax

Hopefully you find these self-care tips helpful. What’s your favorite way to practice self-care?

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