Our Blog:
The “Buzz" from Thriving Students Collective

February is all about love, so this month, I’m showering my education friends, school psychologists, and K12 leaders with a bunch of things I love. I hope you love them too!

But first, a PSA for educators and mental health providers in K12 schools:

I Love Burnout Prevention Tips

When I’m doing trainings on burnout prevention for school districts, I am careful never to lead with the S-word. I’m talking about self-care, y’all. If you’re thinking, “What? Self-care is so important!” you’re right.

While important, I never lead with teaching self-care, because educators are bombarded with the message that the simple solution to their burnout is to carve out extra time for self-care activities, as if educator and mental health provider burnout is caused by not bubble-bathing enough! Burnout is not a personal self-care fail, y’all.

So what do I lead with when teaching burnout prevention in K12 systems? First, I acknowledge that self-care is a downstream activity, and we need to look upstream at what is causing all the stress that we are asking educators to self-care their way out of (see upstream ways to reverse educator burnout here!)

Next, I share the powerful research on educator self-compassion.

Self-compassion has been shown to be strongly associated with psychological well-being. Research shows that higher levels of self-compassion are linked to increased feelings of happiness, optimism, curiosity and connectedness, as well as decreased anxiety, depression, rumination and fear of failure.

What is self-compassion? It’s essentially treating yourself like you would a best friend in a similar situation. Educators and school psychologists are really good at dishing out all the compassion in the world for our students, fellow colleagues, and families we serve, but then we can turn right around and beat ourselves up for “not doing enough.”

But here’s the cool thing. Research shows that self-compassion is a strong predictor of self-care. That means that when we say kind things to ourselves, we tend to make more time for self-care, because that is what we would advise a BFF to do! It’s tapping into a “be your own bestie” vibe.

When I found out about this study, I decided to make it into something cool for y’all. Check out this downloadable “Self-Care Language” cheat sheet, where you can pick your “burnout prevention love language” and a few practical ways to find the restorative practices that work for you best. We show others love in different ways, so why not show ourselves love in different ways?

What’s your Self-Care language? Download your favorite and share at @thriving.students on Instagram!

I Love Nerdy Micro-Habit Tips

I love the science of micro-habits. I love geeking out on how small changes in the way we think about things and tiny behavioral steps can protecting ourselves from burnout.

So, here’s a science-backed tip and mental mantra you can use right away to reduce stress and increase your capacity to do the good work you do for students.

Take “Adult Recess.”

Kids aren’t the only ones who need breaks! Sometimes you just need a little fun or rest in your day, am I right?!? So often, educators work right through breaks, sometimes not even stopping to have a work-free lunch. We’d never advise students to work non-stop with no brain breaks, so why should we?

It can be hard to shift gears in the middle of the day to rest. So, when we’re trying to learn a new habit, like taking a break, research shows that pairing it with something that already habitually happens increases the odds of success. This idea, called “habit stacking” works to strengthen new habits. Here’s how it can work in a busy school day:

Pair hearing the recess bell with an activity that feels restorative. Your recess bell becomes a MINDFULNESS bell reminder for you to take a break!

Breathe. Walk around the building. Eat something healthy with your laptop closed. Chat with a positive-minded colleague. Go outside and listen to the laughter of the kids. Have a stretch sesh. Take a dance break. Or sit in silence. You do you…whatever feels restorative!

Do You Love Cool Swag? Find me at NASP!

Are you a school psychologist or district leader headed to the National Association of School Psychologists conference in New Orleans Feb 14-17?

Come say hayyyy to me at Booth 1214 and enter to win some incredible prizes you can take home to your school to help you and your staff level up skills to support neurodivergent students and prevent burnout!

Forget exhibitor hall pens that only work for a day…come get the real swag at our Thriving Students Collective booth on Thursday 2/15 or Friday 2/16!

Do You Love Learning? Join me at Learning & The Brain!

I’m delighted to be returning to do a featured session and a pre-conference workshop at one of my favorite conferences, Learning and the Brain! Join me virtually or in San Francisco from Feb 22-24th! Here’s what I’ll be teaching…

✨ Pre-conference Workshop: 10 Ways to Reboot Adolescent Motivation, Executive Functioning and Coping Skills

✨ Featured Session: 5 Tips for Healthy Screen Time and Focus for Middle and High School Students

Learn more about the conference here! (Virtual and in-person availability)

Fun fact to entice you to come: This is held at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in SF…and one year Keanu Reeves came! Sure, he was just staying there to film the Matrix 4, but STILL. Celeb spotting at educator conference!

Thriving in Action

I love our district and community partners! Shout out to the visionary leaders of these districts and associations who are bringing Thriving Students Collective to their schools and organizations!

Together we are building a culture of THRIVING by providing burnout prevention support and tools to level up whole schools with the skills they need to support neurodiverse students and students with mental health challenges. When WE thrive, our students thrive!

A few of our proud partnerships!

If you’re interested in bringing the Thriving Students Platform to your school or district, CLICK HERE to connect with us.

See you in March for the next Thrive Archive digest!

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Dr. Rebecca Branstetter is a school psychologist and co-founder of The Thriving Students Collective, which provides professional development, engaging online courses, and a supportive online community that prioritizes whole-school wellness and equips educators and parents with practical tools to empower every learner’s success. She also has a TikTok account all about burnout prevention in K12 that her middle school daughter has endorsed as “Cringe, but good dancing.”

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