Every SLP feels burned out, stressed out, and overworked periodically. I have been there and feel really strongly that mental health is so important, in particular for SLPs and those who work in the school system. Below are some tips that I use to separate work and life and stay happy so that I can be the best SLP I can be.
A burned out SLP helps nobody. You don’t need to rush through everything! Most SLPs I know have seemingly endless to-do lists filled with task after task. They can often feel impossible. Instead, focus on what needs to be done today. Sort tasks based on importance. In the middle of the school year, when you’re stressed and tired, it is easy to get your priorities mixed up and have a skewed sense of importance. Slow down. Think through what you’re doing and if it really matters as much as you think it does. Slowing down and focusing on one important task at a time will increase your odds of staying in this career for a long time and helping more students become successful communicators. Slow down.
Move your body.
I’m the first to admit that I really hate working out. Instead, my version of moving my body includes walking my dogs as often as I can. That counts! If the weather is nice, take a 5-10 minute walk outside during your lunch. Before going home after school, force yourself to take a quiet walk. Avoid compiling your to-do list during this time. Focus on the here and now. If you need help doing this, learn more about meditation.
Eat good food.
“Good food” is different for everybody. Some people do best when eating clean, minimally processed foods. Others need more treat meals to make their foodie hearts happy. Do what works for you but be mindful of what you’re eating! Could it be making you feel sluggish or yucky during the day? I keep 10+ packs of gum in my desk so I can chew on that instead of getting something from the vending machine when I’m feeling snacky at work.
This is such a big one for SLPs. Stop putting more on your plate. Stop right now and think of 2-3 things that you do that you could quit doing. Are you on committees that take away time from things you love? Do you do too much in other aspects of your life? Ask for help and learn to say no. Your time and energy is so important. Reflect deeply on what brings you joy. Whatever you consistently put time and energy into grows. Are the things you’re putting time into things you want to grow? If not, just say no.
Plan “you time”.
Spend more time reading, doing coloring books, going for walks, spending time with friends, getting a beer on Wednesday night, watching Netflix, and generally NOT thinking about your job. Do not feel bad about this time – you absolutely need it and deserve it!
So what now? Do you want to follow the advice above but don’t know how to get started? Sign up for my email course all about self-care for SLPs. I’ll send tips about apps & books, ways to simplify, how to relax right, and how to stay inspired when things get tough. They will be nice and spaced out with action steps in each so you can focus on improving your mental health and sanity one step at at time. Sign up by clicking here.
Thanks for reading! What do you do to help you relax? What is tricky? Let me know!