Mindful May for School Psychologists- The Biggest Myth about Self Care

Hey you guys, it’s Rebecca from Thriving School Psychologist and Notes from the School Psychologist blog. How are you guys doing? I wanted to chat with you really quick about one of the biggest myths about self-care, and this I’m inspired to talk about today because of a moment I just had with a disgusting protein bar.

So, it’s lunchtime and I’m looking at a huge report I need to write and I was getting hungry and I forgot to pack a lunch and was like “Oh well I’ll probably have something at the bottom of my bag,” so I look and I found a gross granola bar and then in this moment I was like, “Wait a minute, ok, here is a decision I can make about self care.” And I decided to go out to find some food that was proper and had a lovely lunch and then sat here for a moment just enjoying myself.

I was thinking about the research around self-care and when you originally think about self-care you think about some grand gesture, like I’m going to go get my massage or get my hair done or go on a vacation and really treat myself. Self-care is not a reward. Self-care is something that should be engrained in your daily activities because you don’t want to get burnt out. You can’t always just build an “escape hatch” from your life, right? Can you imagine being in the middle of an IEP meeting being like “Oh, you know, I’m really stressed guys, I’m going to go do some self-care and, you know, go get a massage.” I mean, that would be nice but we can’t do that, right?

So, how do we infuse self care in the day? Here is the greatest trick I have ever learned about self-care. Some people think oh, well, I don’t deserve self-care that’s why I don’t do it. But I don’t think that’s really true for people, and school psychologists in particular. I think we just don’t make time to do it, right? We don’t realize that one little thing like eating lunch outside and not eating a gross protein bar is self-care, or after a very, very stressful meeting to, you know, talk with a friend or have a cup of tea and do a little mindfulness meditation, like it does not have to be something big, right?

So here’s what I do. Every day you have a chance to move the needle towards self-care and every day these opportunities slip by. I know they do for me because I’m like “Oh, I don’t have time for that.” So what I do is in these moments of contemplation about whether I should or shouldn’t do some act, a teeny tiny act of self-care like taking a lunch, what I end up doing is think “Hmm, what would I advise my best school psychologist friend to do in this moment if she were in this moment?”

I would advise my friend to go take lunch. I would advise my friend not to stay late and write that report. I would advise my friend to go to the gym. I would advise my friend to take some self-care moments. I also, by the way, would advise people to go to the spa…I’m not anti-spa by any means! I love the spa, but there are opportunities in the day that we miss all day long to do little acts of self-care.

So, I’d love to hear from you guys what are some little tiny, tiny things you do during the school day to take care of yourself? I’d love to hear it! I am going to finish up my lunch and I will see you guys soon…Thanks for listening and I hope to keep this dialogue going about how we can take care of ourselves because I’ve worked with hundreds of school psychologists in my Thriving School Psychologist Collective and over and over I hear “I don’t have time for self-care” or “I really should take better care of myself.”

So, when you’re in that contemplation stage, push yourself towards taking action and I’m telling you, small things stack up. I’m in a much better mood I’m sure of it than I would have been eating my gross protein bar! Alright you guys have a great one, bye!

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Rebecca Branstetter is a school psychologist and creator of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective (TM) online professional development course. Want to learn how to stop eating gross protein bars for lunch and learn the science of happiness to teach you how to thrive (and not just survive) as a school psychologist? Want NASP-approved CEUs while you do it? Check out www.thrivingschoolpsych.com/mentor to learn more.

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