I am a middle school counselor in Germantown, TN, a suburb of Memphis (home of the blues and barbecue.) I have three fabulous kids and an amazing husband. Currently, we have 3 cats, two dogs, 2 llamas, 9 chickens and 2 ducks. In this blog you will find adventures of a middle school counselor.
As educators, we often put our needs aside in order to take care of everyone else. It's in our nature. As we head back to school this year, try to put a focus on avoiding burnout and thriving instead of merely surviving. Use the following 20 quotes that inspire self care to take care of yourself this school year. Download the free signs here.
1. "When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. " – Jean ShinodaBolen
2.“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” ~ Kim McMilllen
3."Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. " – Nathaniel Branden
4.“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” ~Christopher Germer
5.“We all have the tendency to believe self-doubt and self-criticism, but listening to this voice never gets us closer to our goals. Instead, try on the point of view of a mentor or good friend who believes in you, wants the best for your, and will encourage you when you feel discouraged.” ~ Kelly McGonigal
6.“People who love themselves come across as very loving, generous and kind; they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness and inclusiveness.” ~ SanayaRoman
7.“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” ~ Steve Maraboli
8.“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha
9. “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen
10.“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~Deborah Day
11.“Your breathing is your greatest friend. Return to it in all your troubles and you will find comfort and guidance.” ~Unknown
12.“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~Brian Andreas
13. "Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness. " – Deborah Day
14."Nothing external to you has any power over you. " – Ralph Waldo Emerson
15."Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. " – Dr. Seuss
16."Give your stress wings, and let it fly away. " – Terri Guillemets
17. "Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. " – EttyHillesum
18."The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. " – William James
19. "Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. " – Lucille Ball
20. "You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy. " – Unknown
If you find yourself feeling stressed, treat yourself to some things that make you feel better mentally and physically. From going to the salon to doing yoga, everyone has their own favorite way to feel special.
What is your favorite way to take care of yourself to avoid burnout? Leave a comment and let us know your ideas.
Notifications seem to be the new addiction these days. Adults, teens, and kids are finding themselves becoming dependent on technology. The cell phone habit has become epidemic. It's an easy way to escape from reality. We need to start educating our students on how to become aware of their addictions and how to ask for help. If you don't want to get caught in this trap, follow these simple rules to escape becoming a digital zombie.
A Dozen Ways to Avoid Technology Addiction
Set time limits on your usage.
Create "digital free" days or weekends.
Be honest about your usage.
Find a support person to check in on you.
Delete notifications or set them to silent.
Limit the number of apps that you download.
Ask for help if you feel it getting out of your control.
Use an alarm clock instead of your phone to wake you up.
Create a time log of your usage to see how you are doing.
Give yourself goals for completing other things before getting online.
Throw a "no technology allowed" party.
Create challenges with your friends to see how long you can go without technology.
I like to use games to introduce and reinforce topics that I want students to remember. A great way to use this game is in centers or small group lessons. The following game is for 2-4 players. The Digital Zombies Board Game has 48 fun scenario cards to help students recognize the signs of technology addiction.
Take a card if you land on a zombie face!
48 Zombie Game Cards
Attach game pieces to erasers with glue for a 3-D game piece.
Leave a comment with your tips for avoiding technology addiction.
After five years of tweaking, I have finally finished another revision of the editable school counseling planner that I make each year. I want to share with you some tips for setting up your planner.
Planner Set up & CustomizationSetting up your planner is easy. You just open the editable file in powerpoint, choose the pages you want and delete the others. You can also move pages around and copy and paste as many pages as you need, in the order that you want. Once you have it the way you want it, save it as a pdf file. Next, either take the file to a local print shop, print it yourself to place in a binder, or upload the file to an online print company that will print and ship to you. You will want to choose a thicker than average paper thickness, print it front to back, and choose the type of binding that you like. For paper thickness, I go with 28lb or higher. I prefer the black coil binding. I try to catch Vista Print when they have a nice coupon code. Other times, I have used Staples online and Office Depot. If you need assistance, please leave a comment and I will answer your questions.
The year plan is crucial for our comprehensive school counseling program. It allows us to see quickly and clearly if we are including all of the elements recommended by the American School Counseling Association. At the beginning of the year, after our needs assessment, we have a counseling meeting in which we decide what topics we will teach each month. We also plan ahead for the yearly small groups that we will run and any big events or speakers we many have that year. Even if we tweak it through the year, at least we have enough time to plan for the events without any last minute rush. You can choose to start your planner at any month.
I use a pencil to keep a list of my endless passwords. Otherwise it ends up being a hot mess by the time I change passwords a dozen times throughout the school year. I realize you can also do this online but I also like to keep a hard copy just in case.
Monthly Notes Pages
I use these pages for staff meeting notes and to do lists for each month. You can choose to color the zen designs or leave them black and white. You can add as many note pages as you like after each month and put additional pages in the back for annual notes.
Zen coloring elements
I've decided I cannot live without this piece of my planner. Coloring is a true stress reliever. Also, with so many meetings that we attend that are geared for teachers, I like to be able to doodle and color to pass the time and stay awake.
Dashboard for student check-ins
I laminate the first page of my planner so that I can use it as a wet erase board. I use wet erase markers rather than dry erase because the ink will stay put when you close your planner. I keep a list of students that I need to check on that week. I will check their schedules and write down the best time of day to catch them as well. I also keep lists of upcoming deadlines and other hot topics.
Every year I keep a list of current community partners, vendors, speakers, local social workers, mental health organizations, and any other business partners. You can also use this page for parent contact information.
Other Forms per Specialty
Many of the forms included in the planners were born out of necessity and requests from counselors and teachers. For example, the small group planning page was created out of necessity one year when I needed a place to keep track of my groups. The teacher planners have forms that I found necessary when I was a teacher. I add new requested pages each year when I update the planners. The daily planning pages with editable time slots was requested multiple times. I am always open to adding custom pages if you need something that is not already there.
Have any planner tips of your own? Please share them in the comments.
Teasing can be a term of endearment or a form a bullying. Students do not always know the rules of teasing and how it can be hurtful. I like to use the sloth acronym when teaching these teasing rules to students. (Mostly because sloths are fun and I am obsessed with them.)
When teasing, consider the S-L-O-T-H.
If used correctly, sarcasm can be funny. However, some people aren't as good at recognizing sarcasm as others, especially if they are younger. So use this sparingly and only with people you know well enough to know they can handle it.
L=Language is offensive
Using foul language is never a good idea whether you are teasing or not. It gives off the wrong impression and can be off putting.
O=Only you think it’s funny
Be aware of the body language and facial expressions of the person you are teasing. If they don't appear to like it, stop right away.
T=Topics are sensitive
Tease people you know well because you are more likely to be in tune with what is sensitive to them. Certain topics should be off limits including but not limited to politics, religion, race, gender, cultural beliefs, cultural traditions, complexion, size, mental ability, physical ability, and disabilities.
H=Hurtful intentionsConsider your relationship with the person you are teasing and your true intentions. The intention of teasing should always be to strengthen the bond between you and the other person. It should never be for attention or laughs from others. It should never be to make others feel bad about themselves so that you feel better about yourself.
Download this Poster
I usually begin by showing a powerpoint presentation to students with the basics of teasing. We have a whole group discussion and brainstorm other teasing scenarios.
I like to finish off my teasing unit with a board game. Students can play this on their own in groups of four. I laminate the game board and use real dice instead of the printable die that comes with this game, but it's up to you how you prefer to use it.
How you do end the school year? The end of the year is hectic and often filled with unexpected interruptions. I like to have calming, yet engaging activities ready to pull out for those surprise moments when the students need a moment to calm down and refocus. I use the 4 M's to bring my students back to me when the rush starts to take over. Mindful coloring, music/lighting, memory journaling, and making summer goals are my favorite ways to close out any school year.
Coloring is considered a "mindful" activity because it allows us to focus on the present moment. We find ourselves thinking about which color to choose and how to apply that color. It's simple enough to not cause extra stress while also taking our mind off of worries. Zentangle coloring pages will keep students focused for a long period of time. Boys. girls, and even adults will enjoy coloring zen designs.
Music and Lighting
When combined with soothing spa music in the background, your classroom or office will be transformed into a sanctuary. You can find relaxing music on numerous apps and youtube. I prefer "The Honest Guys" videos on Youtube. They have a huge selection for many mindful occasions. I also purchased a dream machine from Bed, Bath, and Beyond that has become my favorite thing in the world for calming myself and students. It has built in colored lighting for ambiance. I love to turn off the overhead lights and turn on lamps instead. Everyone always comments on how relaxing it is when we have our mood music and lighting set up.
Students love to reflect on their memories of the school year. Gratitude is an important skill to teach students and it leads to greater overall happiness. Brainstorm some school memories with students and show them how to appreciate the little things.
Making Summer Goals
Goals are important for having a productive and meaningful summer. Consider making goals for health and wellness mixed with some fun goals for self care. This banner is a fun reminder to have a fun and fulfilling summer. It also showcases the dreams and goals of the students and sparks conversations and positive connections.
How do you keep your classroom climate warm and friendly? Do students bring drama into the classroom? These amazing quotes about friendship can be used to help guide students along their path to forming healthy relationships. Classroom teachers can pick a "quote of the week" to spark conversation and set the tone each week. If you are a school counselor, use these in your friendship lessons. I have printed these out and have them hanging in my office. You can download a printable copy here.
Friendship Quotes to Live By
"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Abraham Lincoln
“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” Henry David Thoreau
“Loyalty and friendship, which is to me the same, created all the wealth that I’ve ever thought I’d have.” Ernie Banks
“A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” Winnie The Pooh
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” Alice Walker
Click for the free printable version.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Walter Winchell
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ― Elbert Hubbard
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis
“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” Laurence J. Peter
“It is difficult to say who do you the most mischief: enemies with the worst intentions or friends with the best.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton
“If you have one true friend you have more than your share.” Thomas Fuller
“Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.” George Eliot
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” Socrates
“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” Henry David Thoreau
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ― William Shakespeare
“Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul.” Steve Maraboli
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” ― Helen Keller
“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?” Henry David Thoreau
“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” Henry Ford
“Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Booker T. Washington
“True friendship is like sound health. The value of it is seldom known until it be lost.” Charles Caleb Colton
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
“True enemies are better than false friends.” MatshonaDhliwayo
“Sitting silently beside a friend who is hurting may be the best gift we can give.”
“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.” ParamahansaYogananda
“To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform.” Theodore H. White
“The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.” Cicero
“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.” John ChurtonCollins
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.” ― Muhammad Ali
“Silence make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.” ― Margaret Lee Runbeck
“Friendship is the purest love. It is the highest form of love where nothing is asked for, no condition, where one simply enjoys giving.” Osho
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie
“If it’s very painful for you to criticize your friends – you’re safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that’s the time to hold your tongue.” Alice Miller
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” Amy Poehler
“Keep the ones that heard you when you never said a word.”
“The most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.” Nicholas Sparks
“One friend in a storm is worth more than a thousand friends in sunshine.” MatshonaDhliwayo
“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” Plutarch
“A true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your success.” Doug Larson
“Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” Samuel Butler
“Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected.” ― Charles Lamb, The Life, Letters and Writings of Charles Lamb
“I like to hang out with people who make me forget to look at my phone.”
“My definition of a friend is somebody who adores you even though they know the things you’re most ashamed of.” Jodie Foster
“In friendship we find nothing false or insincere; everything is straight forward, and springs from the heart.” Cicero
“Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.” Alexander Dumas
“The older I get the more selective I am of who is in my tribe. I would rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies.”
“Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.” Rabindranath Tagore
“The secret to friendship is being a good listener.”
“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” Octavia Butler
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” Irish Proverb
”Friendship is a wildly underrated medication.” Anna DeavereSmith
“A friend is what the heart needs all the time.” Henry Van Dyke
Educators are teaching growth mindset in the classroom because it works. When students change their attitudes, change the words that they say to themselves, and change the way they look at life, they begin to change their outcome. One of the easiest ways to teach growth mindset is to discuss famous quotes about it. These are my favorites.
Top 40 Life Changing Quotes Every problem is a gift. Without them we wouldn’t grow. ~Tony Robbins
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. ~Albert Einstein
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. ~Confucius
We will either find a way, or make one! ~Hannibal
Don’t tell me how talented you are. Tell me how hard you work. ~Arthur Rubenstein
Inside of every problem lies an opportunity. ~Robert Kiposaki
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman
There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher. ~Usain Bolt
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. ~Thomas Edison
The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work. ~Harry Golden
A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it. ~Ray Davis
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill
If you don’t give anything, don’t expect anything. Success is not coming to you, you must come to it. ~Marva Collins
Nothing is impossible. The word itself says "I'm Possible!" ~Audrey Hepburn
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. ~Teddy Roosevelt
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~Henry David Thoreau
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ~Martin Luther King
Mindset Banner with DIY ZEN Coloring Pages
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao Tzu
Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” ~William Shakespeare
If not now, when? If not here, where? If not me, who? ~Steve Geiger
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. ~Helen Keller
It is not length of life, but depth of life that matters. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our greatest glory comes not from never failing, but rising every time we fall. ~Confucius
Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~John Wooden
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. ~Napoleon Hill
You must be the change you want to see in the world. ~Mahatma Ghandi
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney
I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul. ~William Ernest Henley
Life is about being and becoming, not having and getting. ~Stephanie Seabrook Hedgepath
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance. ~Samuel Johnson
Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. ~Claude T. Bissell
The two most important days in your life are the day you're born and the day you discover why. ~Mark Twain
The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed. ~Michelangelo
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~Earl Nightingale
Most people never run far enough on the first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got, and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. ~William James