Here is the latest edition of our newsletter with tips to support student anxiety, 2 free Story Lessons, how to deal with burnout, and more!
A peek inside. Read a few of the articles below, or download the PDF to see the full newsletter!
I feel like we are overwhelmed by being so burnt out or maybe we are so burnt out from being overwhelmed? Whatever the case is, burnout is real and it seems like a break can't come soon enough!
Burnout does not just happen every once in awhile, it is a constant feeling of exhaustion and negativity about work. It can show up physically, by giving you similar symptoms that you may feel from stress. This could include otherwise unexplainable body aches and pains, or even anxiety.
If this is happening to you/and or your coworkers, it’s definitely time to reflect on what is going on, what you need, how can you get it, and who can help?
Maybe you just need to take a break. Have some downtime where you are not thinking about work and you can just focus on re-energizing. This can really help to give you space for clarity, just remember, work will still be there when you get back.
Maybe you need to revamp your workload or find new ways to complete your daily tasks.
Making connections, and speaking with someone who understands what you're dealing with, can help you to vent and examine why you are struggling. This can help you to realize too that you are not alone, and you don't have to do it all by yourself!
Student Anxiety is at an All Time High
Student anxiety is at an all time high from how many changes that they have faced in the past couple of years. From our older students wondering if things will ever be normal again, to our younger students, who for them, this chaos, is normal.
School structure has seemed to become more flexible than sturdy. I mean what's with the whole, cancelling of snow days?... How rude!
There's still so much uncertainty which would without a doubt cause anxiety.
It seems like the one thing that students can depend on, is that things will continue to change.
Having everything shift and change almost on a weekly basis is really concerning for a lot of our students. When students need consistency and schedule and routine to help them to feel safe, our ever-changing reality, can be pretty scary.
There are many techniques and tools to help with students to recognize what their anxieties are and where they’re coming from but one of the biggest things we can do is really educate our students about anxiety.
Really providing that educational piece, can help to fill in some of the blanks that they may have been trying to figure out. Whether they are feeling anxiety personally or second-hand from friends and/or other people in their lives.
When students start to feel like they have an understanding about what anxiety is, then we can really focus with them on what is triggering it for them or where is it coming from for them? Is there an event that happened or that’s happening that causes them to feel anxious?
Is there a certain time of year or is it a day of the week, is it a person/people that they see?
What is it that’s causing them to really start to feel that anxiety or those anxious feelings?
Knowing what anxiety is, what it could feel like, how it can show up differently for different people will help them to see what that feeling is for them.
Go From Reactive to Proactive
This is one thing I hear a lot about what’s happening in schools and our School Counselors in particular, are becoming the only firefighters.
The things that we had otherwise scheduled, were not accomplished because there was just one thing after another in the day.
Yes, putting out fires is part of what we do but it shouldn’t be the only thing that we do.
Of course, needs assessments are super informative and helpful in knowing how to get ahead of these issues.
By reaching out to your teachers, students, parents, and admin to find out what they feel like are the biggest concerns, this will show you what your school needs the most. Then you will be able to better determine what you can do, and this will provide you with the data to find a starting point and set some goals.
Setting intentions and making sure that everyone, students and staff included, are all on the same page will be crucial in being proactive. The team approach is ideal in that students will see consistency across all settings at school.
Even if you don’t use a formal needs assessment, you can collect data about the things that you get called to the handle the most. What are the main issues or the main fires that you’re putting out? Who is starting the fire? What have you tried that isn't working? How can you be creative to find a new way to get ahead of the fires?
This will give you an idea of what the main issues are and will help you to prepare for what types of teaching opportunities you can have. Maybe instead of teaching about careers next month, you will see where students are, and that they desperately need a refresher about kindness and bullying.
After this, if the same fire starters continue to do what they do, then those can become your small groups or the individual students that you work with one-on-one.
Give your students the tools they need to do better, so that these aren’t the same issues that you’re dealing with every day.
Ultimately, we want our students to be successful, happy, and positive contributors to society. Right? We want to teach them the tools that they need to better understand themselves, each other, and the world around them. We hope that all we give and teach and show them, will come to fruition one day when they are adults and leaders of our world. Well, let's give them the chance to practice being those leaders now. Now, in a safe setting, where they can receive our feedback and support to help them grow. Giving students leadership opportunities can actually make your job easier, while also giving student the chance to step up and take charge! There are a few ways to make student leadership a part of your classroom lessons. One way is to have student led discussions. Let students take turns moderating, asking questions and leading discussions during counseling. Another way is to have students prepare a presentation for staff, or other students, maybe in a lower grade, to give them the chance to lead. Our students can really surprise us with what they can do, if we get out of the way and let them.
Download the PDF to read more from this VSC Newsletter!