Self-Care and Self-Advocacy
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely elicited a wide range of emotional reactions,
potentially impacting all the members of a school community. It represents a loss of our
collective sense of safety and predictability. With the abrupt move to distance learning last
spring, members of school communities have collectively struggled with meeting their own
needs while fulfilling their roles as students, parents, teachers, administrators, etc.
This section aims to assist teachers and support staff in learning to prioritize caring for
themselves as they support their students in returning to schools and classrooms that may look
very different from the ones they left last March. They include self-assessments and supports, as well as supports provided by their districts or administrators.
The Professional Quality of Life Scale (PROQOL) is used to measure the positive and negative effects one feels in relation to their work as a helper for individuals who have experienced extremely stressful events. The scale can help determine the amount of secondary trauma, burnout, traumatic stress, grief/loss, relationships and attachment, and compassion fatigue for individuals whose work involves supporting others who have experienced suffering and trauma. This resource is reproducible if the document remains unchanged and credit is given to the group that created it.
Self-Care During COVID-19 For Everyone is a menu of research-based strategies for self-care including self-compassion, mindfulness, managing thoughts, finding balance, getting active and finding social connections.
Taking Care of Yourself is a one page handout from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network for professionals working with children, including a definition of self-care and strategies, such as recognizing when you might be Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT).
Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Cope is a set of thirteen resources gathered by psychologist and Georgetown University faculty member, Dr. Jamela Barber and the Black Mental Health Alliance to address the trauma and emotional stress experienced by Black people who have been disproportionately impacted by the corona virus outbreak, along with the recent police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed to demand justice for his death.
Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 covers the negative impacts of stress, the range of individual reactions, how to take care of your mental health and healthy ways to cope with
Disastershock: Helping Our Families Deal With Traumatic Times is a free book that may be
helpful in lowering your stress and the stress experienced by your students and your family
members. It contains 24 different stress-reduction exercises, described in a clear, step by step that is easy to follow.
BUILDING AND DISTRICT SUPPORTS
Teacher professional development on the importance of self-care should be provided by school-based mental health staff, including school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers, where possible, in every school building, with follow-up time at staff meetings for teacher “de-briefing.” Meetings of self-care groups for teachers should be facilitated by school administrators based on teacher interest. Happy Teacher Revolution: Create A Community for Teacher Wellness is one example of a model for teacher support groups.
Follow-up “lessons” on self care via email, from school-based mental health providers using the Self-Care Handbook below have been effective The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook: 26 Self-Care Tips can be used by School-based Mental Health staff to provide periodic, brief “lessons” on self-care to teachers in their buildings.
Supporting Teachers During Times of Change and Stress identifies causes of teacher stress, coping strategies that teachers commonly use to mitigate the impacts of stress and specific actions and programs that schools and districts can implement to improve working conditions for teachers and minimize teachers stress.
STAFF SUPPORTS DURING A CRISIS
In these very challenging times, being able to support your team is crucial. The World Health Organization has published mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, which provides advice to team leaders and managers to protect staff from chronic stress and poor mental health during this pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created emotional distress within Michigan’s educational community. Parents, teachers, students and staff are feeling anxious, depressed and uncertain about the future. These feelings are normal and understandable—and it can help to talk to someone.
American Medical Association on how physicians and front line health care professionals can manage and respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Tips on how to care for yourself, staff and patients.
Crisis Prevention Institute concepts to help staff cope with secondary trauma to help your staff put things into perspective.
Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, offers a session on providing mental health resources in the time of COVID, providing a wide range of methods to help students and adults cope with extreme circumstances.
PowerPoint Slides from Webinar
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) discusses how to support young children after a crisis event like COVID-19.
US Department of Veteran Affairs/National Conference Center for PTSD. For Leaders: Supporting Your Staff During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
Human Resource Executive established in 1987 and continues today as the premier publication focused on strategic issues in HR presents the 7 best practices to support staff during the Covid-19 crisis.
Harvard Business Review article on the role of business leaders during and managing a crisis and the behaviors that can have a powerful impact.