Anyone who has ever flown on an airplane is familiar with the standard line from the safety talk: “In case of emergency, secure your own mask first before assisting others.” It’s sort of counter-intuitive for parents and caretakers. If you’re in a state of emergency, the first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure your child is safe. So why do they say this? Because if you can’t breathe, you can’t help others.

This is the basic core of self-care. We’d like to spend some time on our blog talking about this important topic. This can be a stressful time of year for people who work with kids -- as testing bubbles up, students start getting that end-of-the-year itch, and it feels as if the list of things to accomplish before summer break is never-ending. Self-care is the antidote to this incredible level of stress. It’s what keeps us from pulling our hair out, even when we want to.

You can only give what you have. If you’re operating out of stress, frustration, and anxiety, you’re not going to be able to be that calm, collected and caring adult that the children need from you. We all know this intuitively, but it can be hard to get past when the stress bubbles up. So we’re going to share a few basic strategies that can help.

And you can start right now. Take a look around you. Are you in a happy place? Is your desk piled with clutter? Do you have artwork that makes you smile? Are there splashes of color around you? It may seem silly, but the more you surround yourself with happiness, the more it will actually infiltrate and affect your attitude. Try making small adjustments to make your surroundings into a happy place. It doesn’t take much, and it can have a big impact.

Remember, if you can’t breathe, you can’t help others. So grab your oxygen mask, and let’s dive into this very important topic.

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