Self-Care Matters

Self-Care Matters

The purpose of this Click & Go is to educate users on self-care by helping them develop a personal self-care plan and potentially prepare them to mentor fellow staff members. Self-care is necessary for educators and out-of-school time (OST) staff to cope with the stress of working with youth from communities disproportionately impacted by environmental stressors, including poverty and violence. In this Click & Go, staff will be provided with knowledge and strategies to improve their own well-being, work harmoniously with fellow staff members, and effectively serve the youth in their community.

After completing this Click & Go, learners will be able to:

  • Identify their current challenges and obstacles to implementing self-care
  • Develop a personal, sustainable self-care plan
  • Recognize when they may need to seek advice and support from others
  • Support fellow staff members in developing healthy self-care practices

Zip Link (93.9 MB) Select link to download the resources in this Click & Go!


Self-Care Matters Mini-Lesson

This mini-lesson video will provide a broad introduction to the topic of self-care and will help OST staff understand the importance of self-care for all educators, the significant components of self-care, and potential challenges to practicing self-care. It will also include specific suggestions for bringing self-care practices into OST spaces.  

Identifying Obstacles to Self-Care

Podcast 1 highlights current challenges in prioritizing self-care for afterschool educators. Self-care can be difficult to prioritize because of many professional responsibilities and time commitments. Without appropriate time-allocation for self-care, professionals can suffer from physical and emotional manifestations of stress and exhaustion. 

Self-Care Strategies

In this podcast, listeners will hear specific examples of coping techniques for dealing with stress, anxiety, and vicarious trauma. The colleagues introduced in Podcast 1 continue the discussion of the challenges they are having and share possible strategies for self-care. The educators share several routines they have tried and how they have changed attitudes/emotions.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Podcast Three focuses on setting boundaries and understanding when a break is needed, or self-removal is necessary. Working with children, especially children that may have experienced trauma or other life challenges, can be incredibly difficult. Afterschool educators must find the appropriate separation between work responsibilities and personal boundaries and recognize their personal needs. The podcast will also address how educators must acknowledge when they feel burned out or have compassion fatigue because they indicate needing a break.

Supporting Each Other

Podcast Four will provide listeners with strategies for supporting each other and balancing the wellness needs of staff with the needs of the youth and requirements of the program. The three colleagues decide to meet regularly to support each other; they will also ask if other colleagues would like to join them. They will strategize ways to approach their supervisor with suggestions to improve staff well-being.

Compassion Resilience Toolkit for School Leaders and Staff

A toolkit focused on increasing compassion resilience by alleviating students’, colleagues’, and others’ pain while maintaining your own sense of well-being. Addresses staff culture and system drivers of compassion fatigue. Developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. LINK

Educator Resilience and Trauma-Informed Self-Care

The Center on Great Teachers & Leaders outlines key terms and common responses associated with trauma and provides self-assessment and planning tools. LINK

Mindful Teachers

This website focuses on self-care activities, resources, and a variety of perspectives on self-care for educators. It also includes some activities for students. LINK

School Employee Wellness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents strategies for supporting school employee wellness, plus resources to use in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. LINK

Self-Care Guide for All Staff

This guide from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments helps educators reflect on their feelings and emotional needs, then build a personal self-care plan to recharge. LINK

Teacher Self-Care Tip Sheet

A tip sheet educators can use to recognize indicators of traumatic stress, use self-care practices, and access links to more resources. LINK

Teacher Wellness

These Edutopia articles touch on challenges to educator mental health and wellness. The list includes articles on teacher burnout prevention. LINK

Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self-Care Packet

This self-care tool provides information on secondary traumatic stress, and tools and tactics to help establish individual and schoolwide plans to improve staff self-care and resilience. LINK

Stress Relief From Laughter? It’s No Joke

This 2021 Mayo Clinic article describes laughter’s short- and long-term benefits for physical and mental functioning. The advice: Find many ways to include laughter in your life. LINK

Teacher Self-Care

This list from the Connecticut State Department of Education includes links to articles and resources from Edutopia and Google Education, as well as TED Talks, podcasts, and more. LINK

Wellbeing Inspires Welldoing

This research report explores how changemakers’ inner well-being influences their work and describes approaches to self-care that help caring professionals value and catalyze a supportive culture. LINK

Self-care isn’t the same as self-indulgence. It doesn’t mean focusing just on you and your needs. Instead, it’s about finding a sustainable balance between focusing on your wellness and other people’s needs, including those of students and fellow staff members.

There are many factors that contribute to stress. Self-care is about focusing on what you can control. You may not be able to control the sources of stress, but you can learn ways to respond to stress to reduce its effects on your physical and mental health.

When we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to prioritize. Taking five or 10 minutes to clear your head can help you figure out how to let go of what’s not important and focus on what matters most to you.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Students don’t benefit from being surrounded by anxious, irritable adults. When staff members take care of their own wellness, they’re calmer and more focused when interacting with students.

Everyone has a different approach to self-care. For example, one person might need to spend more time socializing while another person might need to spend more time alone. If you aren’t harming anyone or neglecting your basic responsibilities, and you feel more prepared to address your work and your life, you’re doing self-care “right.”

Sometimes people are so overwhelmed they snap at others, or they’re so focused on their own needs that they neglect their basic responsibilities or discount the needs of others. You can be a positive role model by setting appropriate boundaries and by responding calmly and appropriately to stressful situations and conflicts. You can also be a positive role model through day-to-day behaviors like bringing a healthy snack rather than junk food. If your physical condition permits, take the stairs rather than the elevator.