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Self-Care

What is Self-Care

According to the Self-Care Forum, Self-Care is “The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of, and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.”  As adults, it becomes easy to ignore self-care in order to meet other's needs.  We sometimes feel guilty for prioritizing ourselves over other commitments.  However, it is crucial to engage in self-care so that we are available, emotionally and cognitively, to meet the needs of others.  Our county prioritizes the mental health and physical well-being of our students and adults.  We hope that these resources can support adults in their journey towards greater self-care.

Message from Dr. Jackson on Mental Health Screener and Employee Assistance Program

Good morning all,

The term “self-care” has been used quite a bit lately.  We’ve all read about the importance of taking good care of ourselves. Yet, it’s easy in our profession to focus exclusively on others.  It is said that we must put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others.  I encourage you to give yourself permission to prioritize your own physical and mental health. Being intentional about making time for exercise, fresh air, mindfulness and just being still are just a few ways to address our daily needs.

Our School Board has clearly stated that the health and well-being of every employee is a priority. I couldn't agree more and appreciate the opportunity to provide every employee a confidential online mental health screening tool.

If anyone of us is feeling overwhelmed, this might be a good place to start. It’s a quick, anonymous survey and the confidential results can lead us to get the professional support we need and deserve.  The screener can be found at Mindwise Screener.   After answering several questions, a confidential summary will be presented.  The site also includes contact information for local health providers. Again, please allow me to reiterate that this screener is anonymous and confidential.

In addition to the mental health screener, the School Board recently approved an employee assistance program that will offer counseling and other mental health services at little or no cost to our employees.  Stay tuned for more information on this benefit.

As we approach the holiday months and beyond, let’s plan to support one-another in prioritizing our own health.

I would like to highlight and thank all of our teammates (Dr. Sue Kreuser, Blair Propst, Tabbie Nance, and many others) who have worked so hard to bring this to fruition. 

Thank you for all you do for so many. As Dr. Kerry Robinson, UNCW, said, "You can't serve others if your own bowl is empty."

Please take care of yourself and keep shining the light!

 

Warmly,

Rob

News

11/9/20

NC Resilience and Learning Project states, "We hope that this course will allow you, as an educator or school or district staff, to learn more about some lesser-acknowledged sources of stress commonly experienced when working in schools, the natural impacts these stressors can have, and core practices and strategies that can help support greater wellness and satisfaction for you and your colleagues."

Click here to enroll in course

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Deep Breathing Techniques-Resilience and Learning

  • Belly breathing - taking three deep breaths in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth - be sure to place your hand on your belly to really feel the breath coming in and going out

  • Heart and belly breathing - put hand on heart, hand on belly, try breathing into just belly, just heart, and into both; monitor which feels best; switch hands and see if there’s a difference

  • Breaths of Different Shapes:

    • Star breath - technically, this gives an example more geared to use with kids but it just as easily can be used for us as adults!

    • Box Breathing or Square Breathing

    • Using analogies to add imagery to your deep breathing practice such as pretending like you are inhaling the smell of a bowl of soup or cup of hot chocolate and then exhaling to blow on it and cool it off

Assess Your Own Habits

What are some ways that a person can engage in healthy, self-care habits?  This Self-Care Assessment Worksheet provides a list of self-care strategies and serves as a guide for improving your self-care. 

Gratitude Self-Journaling by Stacey Craig Riberdy

This is writing dedicated to helping you evoke, experience and express feelings of gratitude. When feelings of gratitude are cultivated through practice, we have a tendency over time to feel less anxious, sad and lonely, and to feel more secure, calm and connected. Try these brief journaling ideas to begin your own gratitude practice:

  • Near bed time, take a few minutes and write down 3 good things that happened during the day AND what your role was in bringing each thing about. Do this daily for at least a week. Research from Martin Seligman found that, for as long as this practice continues, it can be as effective as Prozac! [23, 24]

  • You can also create a powerful book-end ritual with just 10 minutes a day: Write down 3 things you are thankful for in the morning and the 3 good things at night. This gets the day started off on a positive note and ends with empowering reflection.

  • Yet another variation is to do this aloud with a loved one—spouse, child, friend, etc.—as a ritual at breakfast or dinner or bedtime. You can also do this as a ritual with students at the end of the school day.

  • For more about Seligman's work, see these articles:

    • Lessons taken from Seligman's book, Flourish

    • An overview of Seligman's research paper, Positive Psychology Progress