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Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Educators 

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It’s back-to-school season and you’re feeling excited to meet your new students and passionate about helping the next generation learn, grow, and explore their world. But this fall may come with mixed emotions for many educators and some may be feeling burnt out before the school year has even started. SDCOE’s mental health and wellness team gathered these resources to help process those feelings and recharge your well-being batteries. 

Engage in joyful activities

We hear about self-care a lot, but that’s because it’s important. Self-care is any intentional act you take to meet your mental, spiritual, physical, or emotional needs. You can think of it as routine maintenance, so when those outside factors place more stress on you, you’re in a better place to respond and manage it all. This blog has 134 activities to add to your self-care plan.

Take a self-compassion break

At least once a week, maybe before class begins or during prep time, take a five-minute self-compassion break. The Great Good in Education researchers say when we face challenges with students or colleagues, our response is usually to beat ourselves up and that’s not healthy. It’s better for everyone if we choose to treat ourselves with kindness. The GGIE website has specific steps for practicing this moment of reflection and self-care. Start with a few deep breaths (belly breathe), think of something that’s causing you stress, acknowledge it’s bothering you, that it’s not unusual for someone to feel like you do in this situation, then put your hands over your heart and give yourself grace. 

Create a web of support

Social connections can increase happiness, lead to better health and attribute to longer lives, according to Mental Health America. Learn ways to strengthen connections with existing relationships and make new friends (yes, adults can make new friends!).

Prioritize sleep

It’s not usual to feel tired all the time, but it’s not a healthy way to live long-term – it can negatively affect your quality of life. Learn more about sleep and tiredness and access resources that can help.

Regulate overwhelming emotions

Four mindfulness steps can help quiet those negative thoughts that just seem to play on repeat. Recognize what’s going on, allow the experience to be there, investigate with kindness, practice natural awareness (not identifying with the experience). This Mindful.org article explores these steps in detail and provides a sample meditation. 

Learn how to instill hope

These past few years have been especially challenging, and for teachers who are starting a new school year, it may feel particularly daunting and overwhelming. It’s normal to feel impacted by everything that’s going on. Mental Health America offers ways to rediscover hope and remind yourself that these feelings won’t last forever.

Measure your stress level

Mental Health America also has screening tools to help identify signs of depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder that 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 looking for mental and emotional support. Call 855-845-7415 to speak to 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 counselors are available 24-7 to listen and provide support. 

Find More Resources and Supports

  • Bookmark the SDCOE Virtual Wellness Center on your computer for more mental health and well-being resources for you, your colleagues, and your students.
  • The Association of California School Administrators has a mental health resource page and a new series in August that features conversations centered on destigmatizing mental health, educator burnout, suicide prevention and legislation, as well as providing resources related to the topic.

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