#PrincipalOfficeHours: 5 Self-Care Strategies for School Leaders

“My self-care strategy is simple: look for something to laugh about and someone to laugh with.”

David Golden, principal in Fayetteville, TN

“Normalize healthy habits as the leader. You don’t have to be first to school or last to leave. You don’t need to email at all hours. Breaks are okay – and needed. I love my job, but I don’t work all weekend long. I take time to rest because there is no way I can make it through the week if I don’t. Also, I don’t want to model that expectation.”

Beth Houf, principal in Fulton, MO

“We’ve made self-care a part of our school improvement plan. We hit it hard with our staff. We make it fun, and we continue to stress the importance of taking care of YOU! We created a punch card for self-care challenges, and team members upload photos as evidence. Our counselor and school psychologist do check-ins. We have staff members take pictures of completing their challenges. We also talk about what they are doing in our faculty meetings. They loved it.”

Shavon Jackson, principal in Russellville, AR

“The best self-care strategy that I can recommend is to take 30 minutes a day to do something that you love… exercise, work on a jigsaw puzzle, write poetry or spend time with family. Some days it’s hard to find the time, but it’s necessary.”

Frederick D. White, principal in Memphis, TN

“Do something that makes you happy each day – something best for you. As a leader, you pour into others’ cups all day. Find ways to refill and restore your own. Also, find time to be with kids. It will absolutely refuel you.”

Latrese D. Younger, assistant principal in Culpeper, VA