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Whats in Your Cup of Calm? - by Ashlee Barton

The life of a school psychologist. It goes something like this: As you finalize a report that is to be presented on in twenty minutes, a crying student is brought to your office in need of counseling. You begin the de-escalation process when no sooner does your administrator knock on your office door asking you to please pop by their office when you get a free moment. As you turn back to the young lady in front of you, your phone lets out its blaring ring, when on the other end is a doctor whom you have been playing phone tag with for several days. So you try to speak with the doctor in code to respect confidentiality as the crying young student is still seated in your office attempting to regulate herself. No sooner do you hang up the phone and tend to the student, that your co-worker is at your door to inform you that your 8:30 meeting is ready to begin! So what is in your cup of calm? Coffee, yes. But that cannot be the only life saving substance in my toolbox. Throughout the hectic work days, it is easy to forget about your own well being as you tend to the needs of others. But what good are you if you are stressed, dehydrated, malnourished, and overtired. Keep reading for a suggested starter kit for self care:

  1. Sleep. This is the most important element of self-care. The research has consistently stated that adults require seven to nine hours of sleep. In fact, I recently read an article that referred to a current study performed by the National Sleep Foundation, which updated its sleep recommendations for all ages. The amount of sleep required for adults HAS NOT CHANGED. Sure many of us can “function” on less than the recommended amount of sleep, but at what cost to our physical and mental well being? Research has shown that less than the recommended amount of sleep can result in a greater number of diseases and health problems. An insufficient amount of sleep can also result in poor focus, irritability, and increased stress. The problem is that because life is so busy, and the effects of insufficient sleep are not always immediate, we do not recognize the subtle changes that are occurring in our bodies. Try to prioritize sleep into your life.

  2. Water. The benefits of drinking water throughout your day are endless. From increased energy levels, improved physical performance, improved kidney function, promotes clear skin, promotes healthy digestion, helps fight fatigue...the list goes on and on. So fill up a gallon jug, bring it with you in your car, and fill up your water bottle throughout the day. Don’t stop until you finish your gallon!

  3. Breath. Deep breathing is magical. It releases the three T’s: Toxins, Tension, and Tears (unpleasant emotional feelings). Like water, deep breathing has countless benefits. But if you asked me what my favorite thing about deep breathing is I would say it is simply to feel more present and at peace. Here’s a simple breathing exercise that you can do to instantly feel better. Take a slow (3 second) deep breath in through your nose, feeling it enter your nose and travel down the back of your throat and deep into your belly. Take the same or slower deep breath (3-5 seconds) out through the nose. Repeat this three times the same way and on the fourth time exhale through the mouth with a soothing AAAHHHHH. Let....it.....all.....out.

  4. Movement. Despite the vigorous exercise you may perform on a daily basis, there is still an importance to get up out of your work chair and MOVE. Sitting for long periods of time


can increase your risk for heart disease. Walk around your school, office, building, house. Make a commitment to yourself to move every hour or two. 5. Laughter. Take a minute to laugh. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the feel good hormones! Laughter has also been proven to increase pain tolerance, increase energy, spark creativity in the brain, relax the body, lower stress, and improve blood flow and circulation. So there it is. 5 FREE of cost tips to place in your cup of calm. Take a sip and enjoy!

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