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Keepers of Our Own Wellness

By Christina Palmer | January 2022

As I sit here at my desk waiting on this Friday before Thanksgiving break, I know I need a break. The past two weeks have been stressful for me as this entire school year has been for everyone. I am always telling my students about how to cope with their emotions and feelings, but sometimes I forget that I need to exercise self-care for myself. As school counselors, we often forget our own wellness and how crucial it is to our job. Our jobs are emotion-based, and we can’t let emotional exhaustion cause us to burnout too soon. As school counselors, we are responsible for the mental wellness of the school, but who is responsible for our wellness?

We are.

All school counselors need to figure out ways to provide self-care to ourselves. We preach this to our students and even teachers, but often forget about ourselves. I know I have these last two weeks. I can feel it in my soul. I am stressed and stretched to the max, but I love my job. I must remind myself to calm down and cope with my stress, just like I do for my students.

So, what do I need to do to help me reset? I will take time to myself this week. I will try to not let all the things in my life get in the way of my health and wellness. When I am stressed at school, it reflects at home, and it shouldn’t. I will use some of the coping skills I have told my students that I use. Reading. Painting. Sleeping. (Yes! Sleeping is a coping skill!) Sometimes we forget the things we teach our students are just as useful for us.

Remember, you are not alone! We all feel that way sometimes. Find some coping skills that work for you to avoid the dreaded burnout. It’s okay to feel stressed and worn out. We are the keepers of our own wellness, and that leads to the next thing: We are here to help! Find another school counselor that you can chat with. They know the struggles you are facing and are sometimes the best help you can find. No one else understands the struggles we have except other school counselors. If you don’t have someone, I am always here for anyone who needs an ear. We are the ones who know when we need help and it’s OK to ask!

Last thing, I had a student ask me today if being a counselor was hard. I said, “Yes, but it is a fun job that I love.” This is what I do and love to do even when my wellness and health is affected. I must remember to be the one to heal it so I can continue helping my students.

Contact Christina Palmer, NCC, NCSC, a school counselor at Southaven Intermediate and an MSSCA board member, at