Written by Katie Charbonneau, AmeriCorps Member serving at Celerity Lanier School.
As an AmeriCorps member, working with kids can be emotionally draining. My students frequently tell me things about their lives that no child should have to deal with, and I end the day with my “emotional tank” on E. What you do in those situations is very important for your own health and well-being. Do you go home and sulk, or do you practice self-care techniques that are right for you? I’d hope you go with the latter!
I have been practicing certain self-care techniques for several years now, and they have been beneficial during my time with City Year. I journal, go for walks, spend time with friends, and practice meditation and mindfulness. My teammates all have different ways of practicing self-care, though. For example, some like taking baths and watching Netflix. My Team Leader, Brittany, says she likes going to trivia nights downtown and playing sports. Some AmeriCorps members have joined sports teams around town, including roller derby teams. Others just like finding hobbies outside of City Year that they can do to blow off steam. One of my roommates loves painting and watching movies.
Another form of self-care is to use the resources City Year gives you. Each team has a Team Leader (TL), a second year AmeriCorps member who was in your position last year. They have a lot of advice for how to succeed during your year of service, and you will have formal meetings with them roughly every two weeks. City Year Baton Rouge also has a licensed counselor available every Wednesday night, and you can see her for free!
No matter what form of self-care you practice, it’s important to find new things to do throughout the year. Finding new things to do occasionally helps keep things fresh, and that way you won’t find yourself burned out quickly. City Year looks for applicants who know how to persevere, and if you have effective strategies for self-care, you will succeed during your year of service!