School Nurses Need a Self-Care Summer—Here’s How to Make it Happen

School Nurses Need a Self-Care Summer—Here’s How to Make it Happen
School Nurses Need a Self-Care Summer—Here’s How to Make it Happen

School Health and Wellness//

July 10, 2022

Everyone needs self-care—especially school nurses. The role of the school nurse changed drastically during the pandemic and has evolved as independent schools continue to emerge. Nurses need self-care now more than ever, but it’s hard to focus on this during the school year. That’s why summer is the perfect time to make it a priority!

School nurses have always excelled at taking care of others. When the pandemic hit, they assumed additional tasks to establish school health protocols, enforce guidelines, and respond to the quickly changing needs of students and faculty. At the same time, they cared for the mental health of the school community.

If you’re a school nurse, it’s a good idea to not only relax and enjoy the time off this summer, but also to learn how to prioritize self-care.

Understanding Self-Care

Self-care is preventive in nature. The goal of practicing self-care is to give your body a break—and so you won’t have to shift into coping mode come the new school year. Having a summer of self-care helps you continuously deploy tools to prevent your stress levels from hitting crisis mode come school time.

Self-Care Tip No. 1: Set aside time to meet your own needs. This can include everything from spending time with friends to exercising. You’ll find that self-care will impact these six facets of your life:

  • Physical
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Pleasure

Self-Care Tip No. 2: Assess where you are in terms of providing effective self-care for yourself. For instance, maybe you couldn’t focus on hobbies or passion projects during the busy school year—summer’s a great time to revisit these. Practicing self-care may not always feel enjoyable at first, but it is well worth the effort. Likewise, learning new self-care techniques may seem like work, but it is something you otherwise won’t have time to focus on during the school year.


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Self-Care Tip No. 3: Create a wellness action plan. To come up with a plan, identify the barriers keeping you from self-care all year long. Then decide what you can do to incorporate self-care into your busy life.

One thing that may help is paying attention to the first few minutes of your day, and intentionally taking charge of your time. This helps you start the day refreshed with a clear mindset before the day’s pressures settle in.

For instance, if you wake up and automatically look at the news, you’ll probably flow into go-mode. But if you focus on setting an intention—not a goal, but something you focus your energy on—you’ll be more in control of how your day will transpire. Recalibrate that intention throughout the day to realign yourself and reframe your day if (or when) stress creeps in.

Self-Care Tip No. 4: Be psychologically flexible. Psychological flexibility is the ability to be aware of the thoughts and emotions you’re having and be flexible with them—even if they’re painful. This can help you feel less trapped in difficult thoughts or emotions (brought on by stress) so you can act in line with your values.

Self-Care Tip No. 5: Take a “digital detox” (if not now, when?) You may not be able to unplug from your phone during the school year, but summer is a great time to unplug from technology, even if it’s just for a short time during the day.

Have a “Self-Care Summer”

Make space in the summer for self-care—and get good at practicing it. And when you are really good at it, it can carry through to the school year! For more resources on self-care and wellbeing, check out the Medical Advisory Health and Wellness Organization. 

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Medical Advisory Health & Wellness Organization

Mental health, substance abuse, physical health, and the pandemic are among the most critical issues facing your school community. As a member of MAHWO, you’ll get instant access to the tools, knowledge, and community you need to have the largest and most successful impact on the lives of the people who make up your school family. Try membership free for 30 days.

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