Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: 5 Tips to Stay Sane during School Start

When the school year begins all the planning and preparations we did over the summer come together. Our energy is high and we feel refreshed as the doors open and we meet our students the first week of school. As the days and weeks pass our stamina starts to drain and the long packed days of library orientations and book talks take their toll. In these stressful and busy times its paramount that we take time to remember to take care of ourselves to avoid the school start burn out. These 5 tips will help in the struggle to stay afloat in the sea of starting the school year. 

Tip #1: Take Care of Your Physical Self

When we remember to take care of our physical body and its needs we stay alert and strong throughout the day. Our physical health is what keeps us moving and allows us to deal with the stresses that come our way during the day more easily. Great ways to take physical care of yourself are simple and seem like common thought, but can easily be pushed aside when we are busy at work. Some examples of physical care include:

  • Eating regularly
  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking a break from stressful technology

Tip #2: Take Care of Your Psychological Self

Our minds are amazing and very busy places. All day long we are thinking about what classes we have coming up next, what we need to still get ready, and the days and weeks beyond. Being aware of ways to take care of ourselves in our minds can calm us and make the stresses of the day easier to handle. Some examples of psychological care include:

  • Practicing mindful meditation
  • Writing in a journal
  • Reading books unrelated to work
  • Spending time outdoors

Tip #3: Take Care of Your Emotional Self 

Emotions and anxieties run wild when our stress levels are high. The normal up and down in a day can seem like mountains and hills to us instead of pebbles in the road. Heading into the workday with a gauge on our emotional well-being is a big component in taking care of ourselves. Some examples of emotional care include:

  • Spending time with friends
  • Allowing yourself to cry
  • Seeking out things that make you laugh
  • Feeling proud of yourself 

Tip #4: Take Care of Your Mindful Self 

The idea of mindfulness has been a big concept in education the last few years. The ability to quiet the mind and concentrate on ourselves throughout the day can be so freeing. The practices incorporated with mindfulness can be as quick as a minute or two. Some examples of mindful care include:

  • Making time for meditation
  • Reading inspirational literature
  • Listening to calming music
  • Expressing gratitude to others

Tip #5: Take Care of Your Workplace Self

To love your job is to take it very seriously. We all go into work each day trying to inspire students and readers of all ages. Because we want to do our best we often give up workplace self-care opportunities to fit into teachers’ schedules and accommodate students’ needs above our own. Some examples of workplace care include:

  • Making time to eat lunch
  • Making time to talk with coworkers
  • Getting support for colleagues
  • Participating in professional development

Keeping these 5 tips present in our minds as the school year picks up and starts rolling help us to navigate all the issues coming at us in stride. If we are able to take care of ourselves we will be able to take care of our students, staff, and community members at a level that is beyond what we can do when we are exhausted. As Anne Lamott said “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” 


National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. n.d. “Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools Handout Packet.”


Author: Elizabeth Libberton

Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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2 replies

  1. I do agree with you Elizabeth, self-care isn’t selfish. Here at Amphitheater Public School, I also guide students about the same. I have found some new points and I will convey the same to students to stay calm & sane. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Awesome post, Elizabeth. These tips will really gonna help. Thanks to you that I found new insight and will share with students so that they will stay relaxed and calm. I was looking for such kind of tips to help students. Thank you once again.

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