What If you need to make time to take care of yourself?
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brownn
Answer the urgent emails and leave the rest for another time. Finalize program plans for the day. Gather supplies for the activity. Get snacks together. Make sure you have the sign-in sheet. Be upbeat when you greet the students. Build those relationships. Settle the dispute going on at the table in the corner before someone takes a swing at someone else. Get all the kids to their first activity space. Help get the homework finished. Fill in for the staff that called out that day. Call the mothers of the students who got in a fight. Transition the kids to their enrichment time. Be as positive as possible in all your interactions with students and staff. Make sure everyone who is supposed to be on the bus is on there. Greet the parents who come to pick up their children. Build those relationships. Hold a brief staff meeting before everyone scatters for the evening. Clean up your space so the people who come in and use it tomorrow aren’t irritated with you. Take the bus driver’s call when she calls about the issue that happened as she transported the students home. Enter student attendance into your data base. Check email and voicemail one more time. Answer what is urgent and leave everything else for later. Go home to rest so you can do it all again tomorrow.
Are you tired yet?
There is a good chance you are a little bit tired. There are multiple factors at work here but one of the greatest factors is that, typically, people who work with students are givers. We are pleased to serve and rarely do we see our chosen profession as only a “job”. We get into it to make a difference and to change the world, not to make piles of money. We live in the space of always giving of our time and our talents and we are happy to do that. Until…
Until we can’t give anymore.
What we do in the world of education, regular day and afterschool, is a difficult task and, most of the time, it is a thankless job. We work long hours, with other people’s children, and it takes a very long time for us to see a “finished product”. In order to keep doing what we do, we have to learn to take care of ourselves….and usually we’re not very good at that. However, it is imperative that we take time to replenish our energy and to refill our tanks. We must seize the opportunities to be inspired and to remember why we started.
Are you tired? Not tired like you didn’t sleep well last night but deep-down, in your soul, tired. If so, make some time to take care of yourself. Take a couple of days off work. Find a creative, physical, or emotional outlet. Go to a conference. Read a book that has nothing to do with your job. Talk with friends or family. If your tired is bigger than a conversation with a friend, make an appointment with a professional. Whatever it is, find something that restores your energy and your desire to keep doing what you’re doing.
If we are running on empty, it’s hard to come up with anything to give to those in our programs.
What If we understand that taking care of ourselves is one of the best things we can do for our students?
Make some time for yourself!
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network
Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.