April 2019

President’s Letter: Self-Care and Social/Emotional Support

By Charity Stolworthy
I hope everyone has energizing and relaxing spring break. We are coming to the end of the school year and preparing state testing, end-of-course exams and/or students graduating and moving to the next level of their education. Stress levels for both students and school staff go up during this time. This year especially, I have found this year that having a self-care plan is really important for me to work through the stress, heartbreak, and needs of my students. The self-care plan also included a balance between my work and home life.
Some things to think about for self-care:
  1. What is my self-care plan?
  2. Do I need to make changes to the plan or follow my plan?
  3. Does my self-care plan need to be formally written out and/or posted?
  4. Who needs to know about my self-care plan (fellow counselor, significant other, teachers…)?
  5. Do I have school staff members who could benefit from a self-care plan? Do they also need to consider the questions above?
  6. What strategies can I give my students to help them through this stressful time?
This month’s newsletter discusses substance use, including opioid epidemic, education related to legalized marijuana, and tools for prevention education. Regarding prevention education, how do we weave in the social/emotional learning (SEL) many students need in order to combat all that they may face on a daily basis? This year and last, I have observed that my students’ SEL skills are lower than they have been in years past and students especially struggle with failure and motivation. Through my guidance lessons with students twice each month, I work with them on SEL skills (Second Step), motivation and growth mindsets. I also have been starting out each lesson with a mindful lesson through Mind Yeti. According to the survey I conducted last month, 66 percent of my students found the guidance lessons helpful, 39 percent have implemented the strategies and 63.5 percent have found the Mind Yeti exercises helpful. I feel that connections between prevention education and social/emotional skill building support each other to help our students develop healthy coping skills.
Contact Charity Stolworthy, NMSCA president, at nmscapresident@gmail.com.