I've been devoting some time connecting my dots as a Counselor by reflecting on the path that has taken me to this point. If you have missed the previous posts here they are-- Flashbacks to a New Counselor and Flashbacks to the Pirate Counselor.
Shock and numbness has found its way to you as a consequence of these deaths which have occurred within the school community. At the same time a hyper-awareness and heightened sensitivity is also present. The impact of the deaths, the media scrutiny, and high degree of need by the student body/community is overwhelming.
Words to live by to the Rookie Counselor Me: Death and Dying. There is no preparation for this. Not really. You'll read plenty of books on the subject. You will go to workshops about critical incident stress management and attend conferences about suicide and the like.
People are going to die. You will genuinely try to support the people they leave behind. Mostly you need to be there for them. Listen. Let their voices be heard. It is important that they feel as if you truly hear their story of grief.
I think you will know what to do by the feel and instinct of the circumstances. You will need to measure the moment, for this is a sensitive subject. Every person, every family has their own beliefs on how it should be dealt with and what customs to follow. Some do so very privately. Others quite publicly. Some want support. Others insulate themselves from it. There is no one way. No correct way. Just the personal way; the way that finds you and nestles close to your heart.
All this leads to what this post is really meant to convey--Self Care. Caring for Yourself is all about You. And, if you think about it, that is about the last thing a Counselor does day-in and day-out while in the school house. Self-care is easier to do then you may think and yet harder to realize when you need to do it.
So, if you are reading this I need your assistance. I would like you to help all our Future Selves. I have created a google document where you may list what works for you. Consider sharing your passions, that which gives you joy, activities which recharge you or puts you in the Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihaly/Flow). Anything that helps you care for yourself.
Here is the Google Document: Self-Care for Your Future Self. Thanks for your support and contribution. I am curious to learn what self-care looks like for you.