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Self-care reminder

August 10, 2010

Just a quick check – are you remembering to take care of your self this summer?  It’s difficult to remember to take care of yourself when so many people are relying on you to manage them.  I just spent the past few days with my aging parents – and these days they have a lot of needs.

One thing I really had to do for myself, and for them really, was to honor my boundaries.  As much as I would like to fix their problems and their issues in life, it’s not my place, and it’s not my job to do that.

The same goes when you are working with students.  Some of them come to us with the most horrendous of  life situations, or with outside support issues.  There are some things we can do to help or support those students, but we can’t fix it for them.

As educators, we tend to want to make things right in the world for people – ideally so they will be successful learners in our class. It is really difficult to feel comfortable with setting boundaries as to how much you are able to help.

Here is some advice from Dana Gionta, Ph.D. – a clinical psychologist and contributor to Psychology Today.

  1. Balance your schedule with actual breaks, not work related.
  2. Make time to socialize with co-workers
  3. Limit how much you allow co-workers, departmental needs, etc. to eat up your outside of work time.
  4. Minimize multi-tasking to avoid burnout
  5. Try to be flexible about this without overextending yourself

In other words, the key is balance.  The other unspoken key to all this is being able to say “no.”  You can do it.

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