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President's Letter: Time to Reflect and Recharge

By Bridget Helms | January 2022

As we round out the end of the first semester and 2021, take some time to reflect and recharge. Self-care and the act of recharging ourselves is more vital than ever. The last couple of years have been draining for many people. I see us in a place of wanting to move on from the pandemic, yet we are still very much in the midst of it. As I reflect on what I’ve seen and experienced, I don’t find that people are as understanding and supportive as they were when the pandemic first started. People are tired and the patience well has dried up. And, as we look around and notice that compassion fatigue has set in among people around us, we must do a self-check to ensure we aren’t in that category. If we are, we must seek the help we need to be well. Practicing self-care is one way to help us from falling into the pit of compassion fatigue and feeling drained. But self-care is more than getting a massage or taking a relaxing soak. Although those things can be really nice, practicing self-care is about doing an inventory of all the things that fulfill our most basic needs. Counselor Keri says that “self-care should fill your tank, not empty it more. In your self-care practice, think about those activities that support your own emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.” When we regularly take time to do an inventory and make sure we are fulfilling our needs, we then have the energy and strength to continue our important work.

While looking online, I was surprised to find that searching “self-care inventory” found literal inventories that you can take to self-assess how you are doing. While those may be helpful, it might also be helpful to make a list of the basic things that fulfill your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and start by ensuring that these things are part of your daily routine. The following are some simple things you can do to incorporate self-care into your daily routine.

Physical Health
  • Eat lunch
  • Go for a walk out in nature; if you can’t get outside, try a lap around your school
  • Have a dance party in your office for one minute
  • Practice yoga
Emotional Health
  • Say NO – it’s okay to say no
  • Keep a Smile File – collect all those feel-good letters and cards from students, teachers, parents, etc., that make you feel good when you see and read them!
  • Develop friendships that are supportive
Mental Health
  • Play games or do a puzzle
  • Keep a journal
  • Read a book for enjoyment
  • Spend time with family and friends
Spiritual Health
  • Meditating or praying
  • Gratitude reflections
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Reflecting on your values
Whether you do one thing or 10, find something to practice self-care. I hope 2022 finds you recharged and ready to tackle the second semester!

Contact Bridget Tuohy Helms, school counselor at Kankakee Valley High School and ISCA Board chair, at