Are you taking care of yourself? Get a little help with the School Counselor Voice, a monthly newsletter for school counselor self-care. Here is a section from the October edition, find more information in the Newsletter page. You can access an editable Google doc version when you subscribe to the newsletter.     

How are you doing now that school is in full swing? Undoubtedly tears have been shed, dramas unfolded and a few solid victories were achieved. While the daily stress school counselors face may not be the same as an emperor, we can definitely follow advice from Marcus Aurelius, a famous stoic philosopher and Roman emperor.

Unlike most philosophies, stoicism can be applied to everyday events. It’s a mindset about life. There are volumes written on stoicism dating back to 301 BC; including a growing number of blog posts and books. Putting all of this knowledge into one page is impossible, so let’s start with a few practical nuggets of wisdom.

You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

In the morning decide on a primary goal for the day & accept that things could go wrong. This sounds counterintuitive and even bleak. There’s nothing wrong with being hopeful and positive; there’s power in facing the worst case scenario. You know from experience things can go wrong and when they do, you already have a backup plan in your mind.

Throughout the day: Be mindful of how you respond to daily stress.
If you feel emotional, pause and reflect about where this is coming from. These are thoughts you are responding to; you are judging how you feel about a situation. Remind yourself it is just a thought and focus on what you have control over. Think about having  “… the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Reflect at the end of the day. Whether it went well or not, there are lessons you can learn by stepping back and getting perspective. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What went well?  
  2. What failed?
  3. What did I miss?

Step outside of yourself as if you were talking to a friend. Avoid negative self-talk about failures, focus on solutions and allow yourself to feel good about your victories. The process of self-evaluation is ongoing and best summed up by Carol Dweck, “Becoming is better than being.”

Here is a PDF copy of the October edition of the School Counselor Voice, subscribe for full access to editable copies of all editions.

Want to learn more about Stoic Philosophy? Visit You can also click the link below for more in-depth articles on this ancient philosophy.

Robertson, D. (2013). A Simplified Modern Approach to Stoicism. Retrieved August 25, 2017, from

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