by Anne Arias
As we closed out 2019, the participants in our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Partnership Cohort reflected on how they are caring for young people through the intentional inclusion of SEL activities and how they are engaging in partnerships to support the whole child. At the start of 2020, with the facilitation of our colleague Porter Eichenlaub of School’s Out Washington, we turned our attention inward to focus on how we care for our own social and emotional health and well-being so we can sustain this work in caring for young people.
The action opportunities and resources we discussed in the cohort could benefit leadership at any level, from those delivering programs for youth every day to Executive Directors.
- Download a mindfulness meditation app such as Headspace or Liberate (the latter is for and by BIPOC), or use a river visualization to guide you: when a thought enters your mind, acknowledge it, put it on a leaf, and release it to float down the river.
- Check out Laura van Dernoot Lipsky’s work from the Trauma Stewardship Institute via this TedX video.
- Set evidence-based WOOP goals (which are great to use with youth, too) to take action to strengthen your self-care in at least one area of your life.
- Expand your self-care strategies and ways that will help you expand your “Window of Presence,” and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Some of the strategies shared during our recent cohort session were: venting to my partner, “taking the long way”/taking a slower route to engage in mindfulness or reflection, sleeping, deep breathing, alone time, scheduling “me” time on the calendar, exercise and eating enough, mindfulness meditation, and taking “Mental Health” Days (and encouraging your colleagues or staff to do so).
- Teach yourself and the youth you work with about the Brain in the Hand model and “flipping your lid.” Here’s a video explaining Brain in the Hand, and local organization Sound Discipline also has some recommendations for putting this into practice.
- Facilitate an open discussion with your colleagues around one of the following topics:
- Norms, Practices, and Policies for adults to normalize and support self-care in the workplace;
- Teaching/Modeling self-care for youth in programs;
- Creating a healthy culture with skills for communicating healthy boundaries in the workplace
In order to support youth, it’s important for us to take care of each other, which includes working together to build positive workplace climates that promote social and emotional skill development and well-being. We encourage you to choose at least one to try in the next month!