Self Care

Take care of yourself, take care of others.

First Alaskans Institute

What is this section about?

Tending to one’s own health and wellness is a critical aspect of trauma-engaged practice. Self-care practices can help adults avoid secondary trauma and burnout, while providing support and positive role modeling for students.

Self Care definition

This section supports the Transforming Schools framework and includes how to build capacity within school districts to promote, provide and support self-care that is intentional, effective, and cohesive for staff.

Community adaptations

The content of this chapter is offered to district leaders, school staff, counselors, and community members with the idea that each of these people have different roles in the process of transforming schools. The intention is to support educators, with an understanding that some content needs to be adapted to make the practices culturally relevant and to align with each community’s strengths, norms, and expectations.

Trauma Engaged Schools Knowing to Doing Video Library

The Trauma Engaged Video Library offers over 50 peer-led and statewide experts short videos tied to the topics in the Framework. They are under 10 minutes and easily accessible for personal review or in a group setting to stimulate discussion. Below is the video series for this chapter.

Click on the banner on the top left of the video screen to see the chapter video titles.

What Can Leadership Do?

Click each section below for more info.

A. Lead by example. Practice self-care and wellness in visible ways in your community to show your support to students, staff, and families taking care of themselves.
B. Train staff to recognize signs of compassion fatigue or secondary trauma, and to understand that self-care is necessary in order for staff to support students’ learning and well-being. self-care in professional learning with specific goals that include school and community culture. Include consistent scheduled time to focus on self care (daily, weekly, and monthly).
  • 10 Principles of Organizational Culture
    A site that outlines organizational change, this article is targeted toward companies, but can be used in any organization to focus on changing behaviors and enlisting informal leaders.
  • Introduction to Support Circles
    From the Compassion Resilience Toolkit, a Restorative Circle Practice for staff. This link provides a detailed lesson plan for leading a restorative circle.
Adult Self-Care Practices
  • My Well-Being
    Practices for cultivating the social and emotional well-being of school staff members.
  • Capacitar Emergency Response Toolkit
    The use of simple ancient healing skills can empower us to live with peace and wellbeing no matter what is happening around us. These exercises are offered for use at times when we may feel drained, scattered, or depressed.
C. Include self-care offerings when organizing professional development opportunities, being sure to include goals and topics that are appropriate to the school and community culture.

Coming soon.

D. Identify strengths in each school community that can support professional learning opportunities related to wellness.
E. Build a culture of self-care among staff by developing support systems and collaboration opportunities. Include those who support students who have experienced trauma in these efforts.

What Can Staff Do?

Click each section below for more info.

A. Be compassionate with yourself. Extend the same patience toward yourself as you would toward a colleague. Seek help when you do not know how to handle a situation.
  • 6 Ways to Weave Self-Care into Your Workday
    This article offers many self-care ideas, while also speaking to the concept of being kind to oneself. The article references the likelihood of falling out of self-care habits and how to resume healthy practices.
B. Understand that compassion fatigue is prevalent among educators. Recognize the signs of compassion fatigue in yourself, peers, and students, and share concern with an appropriate person or reach out to provide support.

DEED Trauma-Engaged eLearning Modules and Discussion Guides:

  • Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences in Alaska’s Schools
  • Trauma-Sensitive Schools
  • Trauma-Engaged Schools
  • Trauma-Engaged Educators micro courses
  • Self-Care for Educators
C. Learn to recognize and process your emotions before they become overwhelming.

Journaling is a recognized way of practicing self-care. Below are several quick links explaining how journaling helps with wellness and tips on how to start a journal:

D. Plan self-care for yourself, peers, and students. Bring practices and routines into your work area and classroom to provide a model for staff and students.

Children’s books that teach social emotional skills (examples):

  • The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
  • We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio
  • The Way of Mindful Education
    This book supports a paradigm shift in thinking regarding education for youth mindfulness. Sections include: Why mindful education matters and the science behind the benefits; Beginning with yourself as a mindful teacher; Cultivating a mindful classroom; Mindful education curriculum (18 ready-to-use lessons)

E. Find ways to connect with people who are supportive and understand the importance of self-care and job satisfaction.

Two short articles that provide information on ways to authentically connect with people:

Milestone Guide

The Transforming Schools Guide offers some steps and a starting point to deepen personal growth, establish a common vision with colleagues and community, and remind each of us that this is a process of preparing, starting, applying, and refining our trauma engaged work. Individuals and teams move through the steps and cycle many times to continue to improve upon and deepen our trauma engaged approach. Seeing the path forward and celebrating successes are key components of effective implementation. These Milestone guides offer four levels of section to complete, broken out by role. Each of the 11 components within the framework and toolkit.