Friday, June 25, 2010

Fabulous Find Friday: Self Care

Each week I will be selecting an item for Fabulous Find Friday.

This Friday's Fabulous Find is Self Care.

Summer break has been the perfect wake-up call for me that I am in need of more self care. At the end of the school year, I was feeling pretty burned out and overextended. There were a lot of things I was trying to accomplish before the end of the school year.  I have felt a huge wave of relief since I have finished the school year.  I miss school, especially the students, but the break has been a welcome one!

I finally have time to think about things that are not related to work.  I really did not realized how caught up in my work I was until I have had a break from it. I feel so much more relaxed and able to focus.  For my own personal self care I have been spending time with friends and family, exercising more, reading, finding new recipes to cook, and just enjoying the freedom of not having a schedule (the joy of being in education).

So, what is self care? Basically, self care is any activity to promote mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Self care can be just about anything, as long as you find it to be relaxing, enjoyable, or fun! Self care allows you to restore your energy and excitement for your work as a counselor.  Self care also allows you to be more present with your students/clients and with people in your personal life.

Some ideas of things you can do for self care are:
  • Read
  • Play or enjoy sports
  • Cook
  • Exercise
  • Watch a movie
  • Travel
  • Sleep
  • Meditate
  • Enjoy or create humor
  • Garden
  • Relaxation Exercises
  • Enjoy or create art
  • Enjoy or create music
  • or anything else you find to be enjoyable!
Self care does not have to take a long time. There are things you can do, even briefly, to help you feel refreshed during your day.  When I am at work and feeling stressed or overextended, I take a break for self care. Sometimes, I will call a colleague and talk about what is going on to get consultation. Other times, when it is something in the moment, I do something that will relax me.  I focus on my breathing, think of a way to reframe the situation, or find humor in it. If I feel like I had a particularly trying day, I plan to do something later in the day that will make me feel refreshed, such as spending time with family or friends, calling a friend, taking time to cook a meal, watching a movie, or doing something fun.

Everyone finds different things to be enjoyable or relaxing.  In order for you to feel refreshed you have to do something that works for you.

What do you do for self care? Share your ideas below as comments or email me!

Do you have a Fabulous Find that you Fancy? If you have a suggestion for a Fabulous Find, comment below or email me and I will try it out! Your Fabulous Find may be Featured on a Future Friday, Friends! ;)

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fabulous Find Friday: Vistaprint

Each week I will be selecting an item for Fabulous Find Friday.

This Friday's Fabulous Find is Vistaprint!

Vistaprint is a company specializing in personalized products for professional and/or personal use.  Vistaprint personalizes items such as business cards, pens, t-shirts, notepads, car door magnets, tote bags and much more!

Vistaprint hosts great sales and specials and always has FREE personalized items too! (you only have to pay the shipping!)

I have ordered products from Vistaprint and I continue to be impressed by the quality and value of the products.  Business cards are one of my favorite products Vistaprint offers. The first time I ordered business cards I used the basic design business cards and received 250 business cards for FREE (I only paid shipping).

Vistaprint also allows you to customize your business cards with your own design or logo.  I created a double sideded business card to match my website theme.  My website, email address, twitter address, and facebook page address are all on my business card.

 

Having your own business card is great for networking! I carry them around with me everywhere. People are always impressed I have my own professional business cards.

Vistaprint has so many great products you can create to market your school counseling program and yourself! Whether you are a graduate student searching for a job or a seasoned school counselor looking to get the word out about your program, using matching personalized products from Vistaprint creates a polished and sophisticated look!

Click here for more creations I made using Vistaprint.

What will you create with Vistaprint? Send me pictures of your Vistaprint product creations and I will feature them on School Counselor Blog!

Do you have a Fabulous Find that you Fancy? If you have a suggestion for a Fabulous Find, comment below or email me and I will try it out! Your Fabulous Find may be Featured on a Future Friday, Friends! ;)

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Soundtrack of Your Life" ♬ ♪ ♫

For the past couple of weeks I have been searching all over my office for a specific counseling activity worksheet. As I was packing up my office, I finally found the worksheet amid a myriad of career lesson plans (not where it was supposed to be!). The worksheet is titled, "Soundtrack of Your Life." 

The worksheet was given to me in a graduate course by a fellow colleague. The purpose of "Soundtrack of Your Life" is for students to identify songs that describe or relate to aspects of their lives. I modified it from its original version to make it geared to middle school students. Some of the tracks on "Soundtrack of Your Life" are "Opening Scene," "School Experience," "Friends," and "When I Get Older."

"Soundtrack of Your Life" could be utilized in many different ways.  I used "Soundtrack of Your Life" with a student this past week. The student had a lot of fun completing the worksheet. It was a really cool experience to hear her explain her song choices. The songs she chose for each part were very telling.  Some questions I asked her about her "soundtrack" were "Which song or aspect of your 'soundtrack' stood out to you the most? Why?" "What track would you add to your 'soundtrack' that isn't already here? What would the title of that track be?"

Here is a preview of what  "Soundtrack of Your Life" looks like.


After creating the "soundtrack" the student asked me if we could make a CD of the songs. I thought this was an amazing idea. How cool would it be to have a soundtrack that described your life at a certain point in time? She could go back to listen to it and see how she was feeling at that time in her life. I was really excited about the idea until I thought of the cost. I knew I needed to come up with a free or low cost way for her to be able to make her soundtrack. 

I was a big fan of the website LaLa that allowed members to create free web based playlists. Lala recently went offline and I needed an alternative... my fiance, a big music fan (to put it mildly), recommended Grooveshark.

Using Grooveshark, enabled me to make a free web-based playlist utlilizing the student's "soundtrack." Grooveshark allows you to share playlists, so I was able to write down the link for the student to access her soundtrack!

"Soundtrack of Your Life" could be used with students in elementary school through high school - in individual sessions and group sessions. Do you have ideas for utilizing "Soundtrack of Your Life" in your work with students?  

The "Soundtrack of Your Life" Google document can be viewed, printed, shared, and downloaded (word, pdf, etc.). If you have never used Google documents before take a brief tour. 

How will you use "Soundtrack of Your Life" with students? What other ways do you utilize music in counseling with students? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fabulous Find Friay: Do you Groove?

Each week I will be selecting an item for Fabulous Find Friday.

This Friday's Fabulous Find is Grooveshark.

Grooveshark is a free MP3 streaming and Internet Radio website. Members can search for MP3s and listen to them live.  Members can create playlists, get recommendations, and share their favorites with others. To learn more about the features of Grooveshark go to Grooveshark Help. (Membership is FREE!)

Grooveshark is easy to use. After you search for songs, hit the plus sign near the song to add it to your collection. You can then create a playlist and drag songs into the playlist.

This week's Fabulous Find was inspired by a counseling activity: "Soundtrack of Your Life." I wanted to find a cost-effective way for students to make a playlist using their "Soundtrack of Your Life." Grooveshark was the answer! Using Grooveshark, members can create a playlist and play it online.  The playlist can then be shared with others through email or by copying the link.

I created a sample playlist to show just how easy it is to share playlists: School Counselor Blog - Sample Playlist.  You chan chose to listen to each song seperately or play the whole playlist. The first song is "My Own Two Hands," by Jack Johnson, a song I have used in lessons about diversity and tolerance. The second song is "One Tribe" by Black Eyed Peas, which I have used in lessons for teaching about unity and peace. The final song is "Let it be," from the Across the Universe Soundtrack. I included it because it is a very artistic version of the song... and I had it stuck in my head.

How will you utilize Grooveshark in your work as a school counselor? 
Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!


Do you have a Fabulous Find that you Fancy? If you have a suggestion for a Fabulous Find, comment below or email me and I will try it out! Your Fabulous Find may be Featured on a Future Friday, Friends! ;)


Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Closure

This week is the last week of the school year.

In preparation for the end of the school year, I have been ending groups and celebrating students' accomplishments. When I meet with students individually I remind them that the end of the school year is right around the corner.  Many students and teachers are excited that there are only a few short days until summer unofficially begins.

The end of the school year is causing mixed feelings for me. I love my job as a school counselor! I love that I get to interact with students in so many different ways throughout the day. I love the unpredictability of the day and not knowing what challenges I will encounter.  On one hand I am excited for a break. I am getting married at the end of the month and it will be great to have some time to get everything done (20 days and counting! Eek!). I am also looking forward to professional development opportunities, reading, and blogging more.

On the other hand, however, I am really going to miss working with students! Packing up my office and telling students good-bye for the summer is going to be rough for me.

As I am thinking about closure, a line from one of my favorite songs keeps popping into my head.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" 
Although ending the school year is going to be difficult, I am trying to re-frame it for myself as a new beginning. One door is closing, but another one is opening. Next year will be an exciting new beginning, especially after taking time for self-care and learning new things!


How do you cope with the last day of school? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fabulous Find Friday: Collapsible Cargo Crate

Rubbermaid 3N83 Collapsible Cargo CrateEach week I will be selecting an item for Fabulous Find Friday. If you have a suggestion for a Fabulous Find, email me and I will tryit out! Your Fabulous Find may be Featured on a Future Friday! ;)

This Friday's Fabulous Find is a collapsible cargo crate

This collapsible cargo crate has definitely been a life-saver. As a school counselor, I am constantly lugging around all kinds of strange things. My collapsible cargo crate can fit books, materials, tote bags, toys, and much more. I have used my collapsible cargo crate to cart materials to classrooms for lessons and bring materials to and from school. I will be using my collapsible cargo crate to pack up my office for the end of the school year.  

When I was still an intern, I saw teachers using collapsible carts with wheels but I had no idea where they got them. I ordered mine from Amazon almost two years ago and it is holding out great. The collapsible cargo crate is space saving because it folds up. I keep my collapsible cargo crate stowed beside my desk so it is ready to use. Using my collapsible cargo crate allows me to tote around all my supplies without juggling bags and carrying heavy loads.


A collapsible cargo crate will allow you to roll out of school this year with ease!

Do you have a Fabulous Find that you Fancy? I would love to hear from you! Your Fabulous Find may be Featured on a Future Friday, Friends! ;) 
Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!



Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


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