Give Your SLP Self a Break

      Hey, everyone! I am almost a week into my summer break, and I am soaking up every single minute! In my humble opinion, one of the best perks of being a school-based SLP is summer; however, I know not everyone is able to take full advantage of that time. As a group, SLPs seem to be Type A overachievers (myself included).

     For the first year of my career, I juggled grad school, full-time work, pregnancy, marriage, and parenthood. When summer rolled around, I gave myself two weeks off before picking up ESY services. The extra income was nice, but I also felt a sort of obligation to take on as much as possible. I continued working ESY for the next ten years or so. I also spent much of my time outside of school using my own children as guinea pigs for therapy ideas or for practicing new assessments. I occasionally attended continuing education sessions during school breaks as well. It was like I was ALL SLP ALL the time.

     Because this profession is so broad and encompasses SO MANY areas, I think we as SLPs feel pressure to always be experts in anything speech-language and even in anything remotely related to speech-language. In the schools, many of us work with ages 3-21 with varying abilities and needs. We are required to not only keep up with an ever-changing profession and scope of practice, but also an ever-changing educational system. It is exhausting trying to juggle everything and be everything to everyone (especially when very few people even know what you are supposed to be). It is difficult to avoid SLP burnout.

     Following my own small burnout, I decided to let some things go. I no longer work ESY. I rarely attend training during my days off. I try to specialize in the skills that my students require, and I get help when I need it. I enjoy more restful breaks and time with my family. I try to remember that I am not only an SLP, but also a wife, a mother, and a person who can do other things too.
     If you are feeling stressed about your SLP life, try stepping back and giving yourself a break. You might have to work an extra job or ESY over the summer, but you should also take time to do things you enjoy. Go on vacation, read a book, shop, whatever you are into. Ignore those SLPs on Facebook who seem to live, eat, breathe, and sleep speech, and talk to your real-life SLP friends (maybe even about nonspeech stuff)! I promise you will still be a fabulous SLP AND you will probably be a lot happier. Happy Summer!

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