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Self-Care for School Nurses

Summer School: Self-Care for School Nurses

The 2021-22 school year has finally come to an end, summer vacation is here and the kids are off relaxing with friends, traveling with family, and fully disconnecting from the stresses of school.  Meanwhile, many school nurses continue to work through the summer and for those that don’t, the 2022-2023 school year looms dauntingly. September through June can be arduous and exhausting for everyone in the school community and school nurses make a point to advocate for their students to rest, relax and restore over these summer months.  For so many in the profession, it comes naturally to encourage and support others in their recharge efforts but can feel selfish to do so yourself.  The truth, however, is that self-care actually is helping others because even though it starts with the self, it directly affects those around you, too.  So, while there may still be school work to do this summer, the school nurse’s primary job this time of year should be prioritizing and practicing self-care.

Self-care can be described as a set of practices and activities done to provide oneself overall health and wellbeing.  Self-care does not eliminate stress or hardship but it provides a path through the overwhelming challenges and adversities faced by school nurses.  Additionally, self-care is not a one-time thing, but rather, a lifelong practice that is dynamic, multi-dimensional and unique to each individual.  Make your self-care practice intentional this summer by giving yourself permission, being present in the moment, accepting kindness and compassion, and committing to living your healthiest, happiest life.

Nurture your Mind

  • Expand your knowledge by learning something new
  • Practice gratitude
  • Unplug–consider taking small breaks from social media, tv, and mobile devices
  • Try meditation or deep breathing exercises
  • Exercise your brain with music
  • Take more breaks–short, intentional pauses can provide much needed reset and calm
  • Seek out professional mental healthcare, if needed


Nurture your Body

  • Engage in physical activity–walking, cycling, dancing, stretching, fitness classes, or even hobbies like gardening can boost energy, elevate mood and help to unwind
  • Make good sleep hygiene non-negotiable
  • Establish a healthy diet and explore ways to maintain it during the school year (yes, that means take a lunch break!)
  • Go outside–breath the fresh air, feel the wind, smell the flowers


Nurture your Spirit

  • Embrace saying no when your schedule is already full
  • Connect and spend time with friends and loved ones
  • Reflect and set intentions
  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Schedule time for whatever spiritual practices nourish you


Self-sacrifice is not required to be a school nurse and is, in fact, detrimental to providing quality care and support to others.  It can lead to anger, frustration, and burnout, and have serious consequences to one’s own physical health, interpersonal relationships and sense of joy and wellbeing.  This summer, take inventory of all facets of your health, schedule the necessary time for self-care that addresses your needs, and prepare to advocate to school or district administration for the time and space necessary to wholly care for yourself throughout the entire year.

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