SLP Self-Care Practices for Virtual & Hybrid Learning

Written by Emily Marshall, M.S., CCC-SLP

Working virtually or in a hybrid learning environment can be overwhelming and stressful at times. To help you during especially difficult times, we have some simple ways to provide more self-care for yourself while navigating a busy or frequently changing schedule! These recommendations are all simple changes or actions you can take to provide yourself with more calm during the storm of virtual and hybrid learning.

Create transition moments to set clear boundaries for yourself between work and life.

This aims to limit overworking and stress in an environment that blurs the line between workspace and relaxation space. Examples of transitional activities you can do at home include going for a walk or engaging in other forms of physical activity, making a snack, taking a shower, or turning on your favorite music - get up and away from your desk!

Maintain simple gratitude visually.

This can be a mini whiteboard or post-it near your desk, on which you can write the tiny, beautiful moments that happen in the course of this job—like a child saying “mom” for the first time, a student finally nailing a certain skill and other special rapport-building moments. Finding gratitude in the small victories and special moments can encourage positivity toward your work and help you recognize just how much of a difference you’re making!

Set tiny, achievable goals for yourself when you feel overwhelmed, so you can feel calmed and accomplished by getting something done!

Examples of possible goals include drinking four bottles of water, getting up to stretch once every two hours, or replying to at least three emails over the course of the day—just some small-ish tasks that you know you can handle! Crossing these off of your to-do list is a good way to help yourself feel more centered about tackling the bigger tasks. 

Determine your “love language” regarding how you prefer to receive care from loved ones, then provide your own self-love and self-care in that form!

For example, if you prefer physical touch, you can comfort yourself with a weighted blanket, fidget tools, or other sensory items. If you prefer acts of service, start doing more tiny acts of service for yourself, like taking time to cook yourself a yummy meal you’ve been craving.

Take more frequent technology breaks when you feel yourself becoming burnt out or overwhelmed.

Listen to your body’s stress signs and try to limit your screen use if possible, especially if working virtually for extended periods of time. To fill unstructured or relaxation time that would usually involve screens, embrace the opportunity to participate in more of your other hobbies!

Build a tangible memory binder or box of “paychecks” (notes, cards, drawings, letters, etc.) from students and families!

Firstly, the act of creating the memory box and looking over past notes from clients, families, colleagues, or anyone else tends to be calming. Once made, you can look back on it anytime for a pick-me-up when feeling overwhelmed or for a reminder of your skills and ability to connect with clients if you doubt yourself during these unprecedented times of virtual therapy.

As a therapist, self-care is crucial to your mental health and your work every day. Using these tips as a foundation for your self-care practices can help you find balance and fight burnout when times seem the hardest. Remember, while you are a hero to the patients you treat every day, you are a human, too!

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