Self-Care "Buffers"

We know that it's difficult to take time away from work or add new routines to your life. That's why Counseling In Schools encourages having buffers between yourself and stressors. Imagine the cushioning around a baby’s walker. You can create buffers in time and space by taking even just 30 seconds to collect your thoughts.

What is a "Buffer"?

A "buffer" is something that separates you from anything that can cause stress. Imagine a doorstop: it prevents the doorknob from doing damage to a wall. By removing yourself from a stressful situation – aka giving yourself a "time-out!" – you allow yourself the time and space to self-soothe and get ahead of our physiological stress response.

Call a Support!

Relationships can, and sometimes must, take priority over assignments and behavioral compliance. Now is the time to ask for support, as well as offer it if you feel able to be there for a friend or colleague. We ALL need people. Establish who your support network is, and remember... never work in isolation!

Physical Care

This can take many forms and is vital to promoting and preserving well-being.


It never hurts to take a walk around the block, do 10 jumping jacks, or a chair stretch.


As caregivers, it is incredible how often we do not take the time to feed ourselves well. Try to ensure that you are taking the time to sit and eat proper meals, not on the go.

Writing: “What is Real Right Now?”

Write a list of “Things that are Real Right Now”.  For example, if something related to a student comes up that is subjective, put it into an objective statement:

Instead of, “Carla is despondent and I cannot help…” Try, “Carla lost her grandmother.  I gave her my number to call me.  I called her yesterday.” Write the objective, “real” version.

Breathing: Flower/Candle

Find a place where you can be uninterrupted for 1-2 minutes (might be the bathroom!)  Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose as if you are smelling a flower for 4 seconds, and breathe out through your mouth as if you are blowing out birthday candles for 6 seconds.  Repeat 4 times, maybe increasing the counts to 6 and 8 seconds.

Integrating Hope and Well-being into your Work.

This is a long-term “buffer” that requires us to answer the question: How can we build hope and well-being into our class curriculum and colleague relationships? Please get in touch with CIS to build a customized resiliency and strength-based curriculum.