6 Ways I Will be Lengthening MY SLP Stress Fuse this Fall!
As a busy SLP in the schools, it is no secret that I can be overworked and at times easily stressed out! The never ending mountain of paperwork, therapy, evaluations, IEP meetings, and other duties can pile up quick. I have decided that I am not going to let it bring me down this year! I am going to enter into the school year refreshed and with a positive outlook! This starts with taking care of my body and mind at work! Stress can creep up quickly when you don't take care of yourself! Here are a few ways that I am going to do that.
1. Actually Take a Lunch Break:
Lunch break?? What is that??? ha ha ha! Too often I find myself filling that lovely slot on my scheduled labeled "LUNCH" with last minutes screenings, consults, conferences, laminating, or other various tasks. It is definitely hard to take a break when you are going 90mph all morning! Skipping meals can lead to fatigue, headaches, and irritability. When I do sit down and eat, it helps me stay energized the rest of the day (you know, so I can continue to go 90mph until 3:30!). Lunch breaks are not only good for your body but also good for your mind and spirit! I have found some teacher/staff friends to eat with and its nice to sit back, grab a bite, and talk about life!!! Fight stress by feeding yourself! :)
2. Stay Hydrated!
Last year I did a terrible job of drinking water throughout my work day. De-hydration can lead to headaches, irritability, and stress!! My goal is to keep jugs of bottled water at work and buy a fun water bottle that I can carry around (you know, to save on plastic water bottle waste!). Nothing fights stress like proper hydration!
3. Take Restroom Breaks!
This seems like a no-brainer but I will go a whole day without visiting the little girl’s room and then make a mad dash to the potty when I get home! This is an obvious bad habit because it puts you at risk for UTI and bladder infections. If you are like me, I command you to make yourself take regular bathroom breaks (especially if you are going to work on tip #2!)
4. Use a paper planner!
I don’t know what it is, but there is something zen about using a paper planner. I also like to buy fun pens (different colors/textures) to color code things in my schedule. I really like the SLP oriented planners I created one that I bought off of TPT (it is actually a combo of pages I made up, Crazy Speech World's planner, and Kayla SLP's planner! I also use a simple form/attendance calendar I created to keep track of student services (Daily Service Log and Calendar). You can look at that in my TPT store by clicking here!
5. Use a lesson planner!
My district does not require me to turn in lesson plans and sometimes I get lazy and don’t write them out. I have it all in my head but I am more organized and prepared if I have it on paper beforehand. I saw a post by Jenn Alcorn of CrazySpeechWorld about her thematic lessons! I plan on doing themes all year too. (She even has a FREEBIE in her store about it! Click Here to see it). My goal is to have each 6 weeks planned out in advance! The last week of the grading period I usually spend collecting good data for progress notes, so really I only have 5 weeks every grading period to plan for. I have already planned until Christmas and that stress mountain has been successfully lifted off of my shoulders!!
6. Stay connected!
I am the lone SLP at my district so I don’t have anyone in our profession to bounce ideas off of at work! I keep up with a TON of blogs and SLPs on social media for this reason. It is a great feeling to post a question in one of the SLP groups and get support! It is also a good idea to keep in touch with former colleagues and classmates! I have a couple of local SLPs that I can call when I need to talk to a person about an issue at work. If you are stuck in a difficult situation, it is OK to reach out to another SLP to vent about it (respecting HIPPA and Privacy of course).
These tips may seem simple and obvious but I am guilty of not taking care of myself and getting STRESSED!! :) My other favorite stress remedy is lavender essential oil! I use it at home mostly (I don't diffuse in my room at school due to allergies/sensitivities) and it really works for me! :)
Have a great school year and take care of yourself! :)