Tips to Avoid School Counselor Burnout
- Leave the Job Behind at the End of the Day
- Spend Time with Loved Ones
- Speak to a Professional
- Get Physical
- Reduce Your Work Load
Working as a licensed counselor is an extremely difficult job, which is why many of these professionals use school counselor resources to avoid suffering from burnout. Burnout occurs when you reach the point that you can no longer fully devote yourself to your job or handle the hardships that you experience on the job. This can happen to any counselor working in any type of school, but counselors can learn how to avoid burnout.
Leave the Job Behind at the End of the Day
Counselors often form attachments to the students they work with and have a hard time forgetting about those students at the end of the day. While it's perfectly fine that you form relationships with your students, you should take steps to leave your job behind at the end of the day. When you bring work home with you and keep thinking about your students, it's hard to find time for yourself and even harder to focus on your life outside of school.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
When you leave school at the end of the day, make time for your loved ones. You and your partner or spouse might have a date night or just spend some time cooking a meal together. If you aren't married or in a relationship, you can turn to your friends for help. A guys' or gals' night out is a great way to focus your attention on other tasks and to take your mind off your work. You can even plan a trip to an amusement park or take a hike with your friends.
Speak to a Professional
As a counselor, you have access to school counselor resources like therapists and counselors working in your city. Ryan Howes, PhD and ABPP, of Psychology Today, encourages school counselors and other types of counselors to seek help from a licensed professional like a therapist. Working with a therapist helps you work through the issues that you face every day in school and allows you to get help for the negative feelings that you have. Just having someone to talk to after a rough day can go a long way towards preventing burnout.
Physical exercise ranks among the top ways to prevent burnout because it releases endorphins that put you in a better frame of mind. When you join a gym, you can toss a bag of workout clothing in your car and stop by on your way home to try out a few machines and burn calories after a hard day at work. If you do not live close to a gym, you can create your own fitness center at home with an exercise bike or elliptical machine. You can even take a long walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind and release endorphins.
Reduce Your Work Load
Though it may be impossible to get help from another counselor because of your school's budget, you can still look for ways to reduce your work load. No one counselor can handle the needs of all students, but teachers and even the principal working for your school can help. The principal can talk to problem students instead of sending them to your office, and teachers can help students with college applications and other needs.
As a school counselor, you help your students with tasks like applying to college, dealing with bullying and harassment from other students and issues at home that affect their schoolwork. Regular exercise, talking to a professional and using other school counselor resources can help you significantly reduce your risk of suffering from burnout later.