Amazing or Overwhelming Days? Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
Working with children can be amazing or overwhelming, and part of it is determined by our attitudes and preparation. Try these tips for taking care of ourselves.
It can seem overwhelming when you feel a responsibility to try to be at your best for every child, every therapy session, every day because you never know when your moment of the biggest impact will be.
Our jobs can be intense because of this. It adds to the overwhelm when the educators around us only see the small number of students and the playing that happens. But we know the truth!
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help deal with the overwhelming aspects of our jobs. Being organized with our paperwork and speech therapy materials can help us individualize to our students’ needs and give us more time for ourselves.
Yes, ourselves! We can’t continually care for others unless we also spend a littl time to care for ourselves every day to revitalize. Let’s start with ourselves since we so often don’t!
Be sure that some of your time before school starts is to take care of yourself, even if it is just 2 minutes, since a calmer, more together SLP is always an asset for an overwhelmed student!
IDEAS for Taking Care of Yourself
- Sip your favorite morning beverage on your way to work while listening to some great music.
- Take a minute to get done whatever will bother you most later on, whether it isstraightening up your desk or making sure you get to the bathroom.
- Connect with a friend at work for a brief update before the students pour in.
- Take a quick walk during the day to clear your mind when the weather is nice.
- Close your door and do a few stretches if the weather is not nice.
- Put a favorite quote on your desk to remind yourself that you can make a difference, impacting a child’s life forever!
- Place some beautiful nature posters in a spot you can glance at and remind yourself to take some deep breaths. Free calendars are great for this!
- If you are lucky enough to get occasional nice notes from your students or their parents, save them! When you get one of those moments when you wonder if you are actually helping, open up that file and read one of those heartwarming letters.
TIPS for Organizing Digital Files
- Make folders for each month, skill or theme on your computer to help you locate what you need for planning.
- When you download materials, place them in the appropriate folder, even if all you can manage is a dump from your desktop at the end of the month.
- If you see a great idea or a downloadable freebie, take a screenshot with the URL visible and place that in the file.
- Rename the screenshot with information to help you locate the original idea.
- If you really want to be organized and use a Mac, did you know you can edit the screenshot with Preview to add the URL directly on the page?
TIPS for Organizing Paper Files
- Keep your original set of materials in a page protector.
- Write your name in the corner of the pages with a yellow highlighter so you don’t give out the page. This also comes in handy when you forget to take the page from the photocopy machine,
- Place the page protectors in a binder with a label of the month, skill or theme. Set it up to match the computer file you printed it from.
- Punch holes in laminated pages and file folder activities made from these materials in the binder.
- Put picture cards made from these pages in a zipper plastic bag in the same binder.
- If the materials don’t fit, place them in a storage container with the same label.
- Don’t try to do this with everything at once! Start with the new materials you download this year. Then, after you have searched to find older materials that co-ordinate, just add them to the file.
- When your workspace gets moved, the binders and boxes will fit in a file drawer or look neat on a shelf, depending on the storage you have in your new spot.
- Consider just recycling everything that didn’t make it to your new storage system after a few years, since you haven’t gone looking for it anyway!
What do you do to help your workdays be amazing instead of overwhelming?