How are you with practicing self-care? Do you take time to recharge your batteries or do you give and give until you pass out from sheer exhaustion?
People who take care of others are sometimes the worst practitioners of self-care. We get into the business of helping others but then we tend to forget that we need to be cared for as well. I speak from personal experience.
I know I need to take care of myself…I know I need to make time for myself…I know this, yet it doesn’t always happen.
That’s why I was really excited to read about how one of my Facebook fans combines her love of crochet into self-care time that benefits her students. Seriously? How awesome is that?
I invited Amanda to share her experience with the rest of my readers. (You check out the original Facebook thread and join the conversation here.) Without further ado, here’s the fabulously talented Amanda:
It is hard to believe that the fourth quarter of my first year as a School Social Worker is quickly approaching! Just like Dorothy and her adventure down the yellow brick road, my first year has been a wild ride! My current position has me split between two schools in my home town. I am at the middle school ( 6th-8th) part-time and spend the other half at an elementary school where I am with a self-contained classroom (K-2) for students with behavioral concerns. The fun part is I attended both schools I work at when I was a student and know that I have landed my dream job!
I began my social work career as a therapeutic day school and quickly realized that working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities was my passion. I continued my career by becoming a mental health specialist at a residential treatment center in Illinois. It was at the residential treatment center that I first used crocheting as a therapeutic intervention. When working with adolescents who have traumatic pasts and even more unsure futures, it takes creativity and persistence to find ways to develop rapport with the clients and help them develop coping skills to be successful in life. The image of a 16-year-old male crocheting in his room as a way to replace his aggression will always hold a special place in my heart.
As a school social worker, I spend a lot of time modeling for my students, especially at the elementary school level. Crocheting emerged in my career as I began talking to my colleagues about the importance of self-care as we work in a high stress environment. I always described crocheting as my therapy and brought in some of my amigurumi stuffed animals to show them. When I saw the look and excitement on one of my students faces when they saw a big, cuddly crocheted turtle on the table, I knew I had to find a way to merge my passion for crochet into my practice.
I have used crocheting as a way to show my students that even adults use coping skills to regulate their emotions. It has opened their eyes that coping skills can be more than just deep breathing and counting to 10.
I involve the students in helping me choose which animal to make next so I can stay happy and calm, and they help me name them when they are done! I keep my finished products in my office so that they can be reminders of previous lessons we have talked about. I have future plans to incorporate my crochet creations such as making animals that the kids can purchase in our school store with the tickets they earn for positive behavior. I love that I have been able to enmesh two of my greatest passions together and hope that other counselors can do the same!
Please visit my page to see the crochet creations I have made which are all for sale. I love custom orders, so I would love to hear your unique ideas/orders! www.facebook.com/amandaschmittcrochet
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