Bits & Bytes: Go ahead and rest

Happy summer - it is a time for rejuvenation...not work.

Rest is a school counseling essential.

School counseling is a madly varied type of job. I often liken it to being a cop, minus the danger aspect. Every day that we go to work – we never really know what is going to walk through our office door. This is one aspect of the job that keeps it interesting, but it is also the aspect of our job that absolutely wears us down. I can have 20 things on my to-do list for the day and have one situation walk in which then makes me drop everything and address that student need. Those 20 things didn’t go away, but were triaged to lower priority. Many school counselors will stay super late and try to get all 20 things done before calling it a day. I say that is likely a mistake.

Rest does not equal laziness.

There is ample research and psychological studies that point to the fact that Americans are overworked and under-rested. There is also an idea that rest/relaxation is simply idleness or laziness. That is not so. This rest is essential to our continued productivity, responsiveness and ability to support students to the best of our ability. 

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets” – Tim Krieder

I have always had a mindset that while I may not get every last thing done – I try my best to leave work at a reasonable time each day. A tired, grumpy and unfocused Jeff is not good for students. I am a better school counselor when I am rested. Students have more of my attention, I have a better mental fortitude and I can engage more deeply with their needs. Do I feel guilty about leaving at three or four PM? Sometimes. Do I regret it? Rarely.

You are challenged

As we are at the front end of summer and many of you are headed to #ASCA16 in New Orleans (sadly, I am not), I want to challenge you to get your rest this summer and setup a plan to get rest next year. You may have huge caseloads, lots of work and it may feel that it never ends, but constantly working 15 hour days is simply not healthy. Not healthy for you…or your students.

You are hereby encouraged to rest. Enjoy it. That is what life is all about – right?

 

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