4 Things to Do When You are Overwhelmed
Everyone has pressure on them no matter what they do in life or in work. Speech pathologists are no different. Many SLPs agree that the things that overwhelm them the most isn’t their students; it’s the schedules, the paperwork, and the time constraints. Working around teacher schedules, meetings, all to get the necessary therapy or group sessions completed is enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned SLP.
It can be tempting to try and do it all. You’re in a helper role so it comes naturally that you want to help as much as possible. That’s great but don’t try to take on the world and expect it to all come out perfectly. The best thing you can do for yourself is let your “yes” be a yes and make your “no” mean no.
Create Open Lines of Communication
Following the idea of creating boundaries, keep your lines of communication open. This means working as a team and knowing when to ask for help. If an IEP is coming up, touch base with your student’s teacher, principal, any other members of the team, and of course the parents.
You likely have a trillion things (more or less) to do in a day. Advocate for what you need and reach out. There is a network ready and available to help; use them.
Take a Lunch Break
This can’t be stressed enough. When you work from home as a teletherapist, the temptation is to grab something from the fridge and head back to your desk and work while you eat. If you work in a school, you’re likely doing the same. Stop; devote your lunch break to having a meal (which will keep your energy up) and socializing with coworkers (which builds relationships necessary for forming a network of helpers).
If you’re at home, make a conscious effort to eat someplace other than your desk or office; sit outside or hop in the car and meet up with a friend. The goal is to take a break and walk away from work for a bit. This break will help you be more productive when you return to work for the rest of the day.
Don’t Give Up Your Spare Time
Bringing work home again tonight? Or maybe you’re at home and you want to finish paperwork before heading off to bed; no matter what the reason is, leave work at work. Regardless if you work from home, get up and walk out of the office, close the laptop, turn off your phone and do something you enjoy every day.
You run your day; don’t let your day run you. It’s important to know the things that trigger stress in your day to day and then take actionable steps to work through what frustrates you the most. Remember that you are enough, and you are doing your very best to meet the needs of the students and families that you work with.