Mental health and wellness resources for educators

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It’s back to school and you’re excited to meet your new students and want to help the next generation learn, grow and explore their world. But this fall can bring mixed feelings for many educators, and some may be feeling burned out before the school year even begins. SDCOE’s Mental Health and Wellness team has gathered these resources to help you process these feelings and recharge your batteries for your well-being.

Participate in happy activities

We hear a lot about self-care, but that’s because it matters. Self-care is any intentional action you take to meet your mental, spiritual, physical, or emotional needs. You can think of it as routine maintenance. So when these external factors weigh you down more, you are better able to respond and cope. This blog has 134 activities to add to your self-care plan.

Take a self-compassion break

At least once a week, perhaps before class begins or during preparation time, take a five-minute self-compassion break. Researchers at The Great Good in Education say when we face challenges with students or colleagues, our response is usually to beat ourselves up, and that’s not healthy. It is better for everyone if we treat ourselves with kindness. The GGIE website provides specific steps for practicing this moment of reflection and self-care. Start with a few deep breaths (belly breathing), think of something that’s bothering you, acknowledge that it bothers you, that it’s not uncommon for someone in this situation to feel the way you do, then put your Hands on your heart and give yourself grace.

Build a network of support

According to Mental Health America, social connections can increase happiness, lead to better health, and contribute to longer lives. Learn how to strengthen connections in existing relationships and make new friends (yes, adults can make new friends!).

Prioritize sleep

It’s not common to feel tired all the time, but it’s not a healthy way to live long-term — it can negatively impact your quality of life. Learn more about sleep and fatigue and access helpful resources.

Regulate overwhelming emotions

Four mindful steps can help calm those negative thoughts that just seem to repeat themselves. Recognize what is going on, allow the experience to be there, investigate with kindness, practice natural awareness (do not identify with the experience). This Mindful.org article examines these steps in detail and provides a sample meditation.

Learn to inspire hope

These past few years have been particularly challenging, and for teachers starting a new school year, it can feel particularly daunting and overwhelming. It’s normal to feel influenced by everything that’s going on. Mental Health America offers opportunities to rediscover hope and remember that these feelings won’t last forever.

Measure your stress level

Mental Health America also has screening tools to help you identify signs of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be a conversation starter with your doctor or loved one about your mental health. There are also worksheets to help process challenges and better understand and communicate your feelings. This stress screener can help identify areas of need.

Access a warmline

The Mental Health Association of San Francisco Warmline is a non-emergency resource for anyone in California seeking mental and emotional support. Call 855-845-7415 to speak to the counselor before things feel like they’ve boiled over. If you need immediate mental health support, dial 9-8-8 to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You are not alone; Trained advisors are available 24/7 to listen and provide support.

Find more resources and support

Bookmark the SDCOE Virtual Wellness Center on your computer for more mental health and wellbeing resources for you, your colleagues, and your students.

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