Sunday, December 8, 2013

Balance...

Wow, it has been a really long time since I have blogged. I have been struggling with the age-old problem of work/home balance. School counseling has always been a demanding job.  However, this year seems to be infinitely more challenging.

There are many times that I exhaust so much energy with the students I work with that I don't have enough for my own children (and husband). How unfair for my own kiddos that they have half of a mom most days. My struggle has come to a head since right before Thanksgiving.  There were some VERY physically and emotionally draining days/weeks at school, my kiddos at home were having some behavior difficulties (duh...emotionally absent mom), there were over 30 people coming to my house for Thanksgiving, my sister's family was staying with us, my parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (wow!), I began thinking heavily about entering a doctoral program, and the straw that broke the camel's back...my daughter got sick followed by the rest of us! AHHHHHHHHH!

I know this may sound like whining, but I KNOW there are many women who struggle with balance. I thought that if I am open and honest about my difficulties, maybe I can help someone else. I know there are men that struggle with this, too, but I can only speak from a woman's point of view.

Counselors are trained to help others with challenges of life and emotions. Unfortunately we often forget about our own emotional and physical needs or feel guilty when we do things for ourselves.

Well, I am determined to get this balance thing down (or at least managed) so I can feel less stressed and more effective at school AND home.

I will be blogging about this journey for awhile because I know it is a process. Don't worry, I will also begin to blog about school counseling "stuff" again, too.

Until then, I will keep working on my beast....BALANCE!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Small Victories!

As school counselors, we work students who often have significant concerns. Working with these students can be challenging both emotionally and physically. We advocate for them, comfort them, calm them down, let them scream and sometimes throw things (we hope not at us). All the while, teaching classroom counseling lessons, conducting groups, attending or facilitating meetings, meeting with other students, meeting with teachers, meeting with administrators, meeting with parents, making phone calls, working on paperwork, checking and replying emails....catch my drift?

We can feel as if we are not being very effective UNTIL.....one of our students does something AMAZING!!! This could simply mean that a student stayed in his or her classroom for a half hour without melting down, smiled at an adult, stayed in line all the way to lunch, etc.  As small as this sounds, it is ginormous for some kids. I live for these moments! It is then that I feel fulfilled and completely ecstatic!

It is small victories that lead to big victories. We need to celebrate the small victories so our little friends know that their hard work is paying off. They get so excited when they are recognized for even the smallest of tasks. It doesn't take much; a high five, pat on the back, a little dance. Whatever you can do to tell that kiddo that they are special and noticed.

Have you celebrated a student lately???

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Superhero Power!!

Superheros have many super powers (flying, super strength, shooting flames, running fast, etc.)  All superheros have one superpower in common......

SELF-CONTROL!

Without the super power of self-control, superheros could hurt themselves and others.  The last few lessons of a behavior group focused on self-control. I used the concept of superheros with them (they were mainly boys) to drive home that they could also hurt themselves and others without using self-control.

I used a template that I found on Elisabeth's blog, Tales of an Elementary Teacher.  Each student wrote "SC" for Self-Control in the middle of the super hero, kind of like the "S" in Superman."  They decorated their superhero to match their personalities.  Around the superhero, they had to write all the ways they can demonstrate self-control.

Our last group together, we decorated superhero masks and practiced our self-control super powers! Below you will find a superhero mask template that I found at the Just Bunch Blog. The kids and I really had fun with the superhero theme and they could relate with how they also have to use self-control.

 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Liebster Award!!!

It has been a crazy, busy beginning of the school year!  I have not blogged for weeks and during my absence I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Kristi at Confessions of a School Counselor. How exciting!  It is so fun to know that people are reading my blog and finding it helpful!  What an honor.

The rules are:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

Here are the answers to Kristi's questions:
1. What are your favorite blogs?
I have so many blogs that I visit that it is really difficult to name them all.
Entirely Elementary Blog
Counseling Corner
Elementary Counseling Blog 
Scrapbook of a School Counselor
JYJ Counselor Blog
Marriage, Motherhood, and the Messes of Life (This is not a counseling blog but it belongs to my amazing sister!)

2. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging for several reasons.  First, I wanted a way to interact with other school counselors to share ideas. While I was searching other blogs, I found that I was doing similar things in my counseling program, so I thought I could contribute to the conversations.  Lastly, it is just plain fun! I love the feedback that I get from everyone and get really excited when other people find something they can use from my blog.

3. What would you like other bloggers to know about you?
I am a really big nerd! I love organizing and finding ways to improve my counseling program.

4. Why did you decide to work as a school counselor?
During the years that I was a teacher, I was drawn to the kiddos who had difficulties.  I enjoyed spending time with them one on one or with a small group of other students.  I began to see a difference in their learning when they felt good about themselves and when they knew someone was on their side.  I really love teaching, but counseling is where my heart is.

5. What are your favorite things to do outside of school?
RELAX!!! Anyone who works in a school knows exactly how time consuming and busy it can be. I like to do anything that can help me decompress. Sometimes that means reading a good book, exercising (I need to be better at this one), spending time with my family, exploring new parks, etc.

6. What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is helping kids become the best little people they can be.  I see the slightest accomplishments as huge! For example, I had a 3rd grader come to school the first day without crying for the first time since Kindergarten.  Woohoo!  That kind of thing means the world to me!

7. How many years have you been working in a school?
I am in my 14th year in education.  I taught 3rd grade for 10 years then switched to counseling.  I just began my 4th year in counseling.

8. If you could only have 5 books in your office, which ones would you choose?
Tough one.....there are so many!
1. Creative Small Groups~Great lessons to use right away.
2. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? ~ Words to live by.
3. Teaching Children Empathy, the Social Emotion ~ I believe that if we teach empathy at an early age, there will be less instances of bullying.
4. Good-Bye Bully Machine by Debbie Fox and Allan L. Beane ~ We cannot teach enough about this topic.
5. The Way I Feel by Janan Cain ~ Fun book to introduce feeling words

9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I would love to live in a place where I can see mountains from my house.

10. What is your #1 go to resource at school?
People who know me are going to laugh, but my #1 resource right now is Pinterest.  I can type in exactly what I am looking for and get a ton of ideas from other awesome counselors.

11. What is your favorite quote?
"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." ~Oscar Wilde


11 Random Facts about Emily Hansen aka "Hanselor"
1. My 2 kids were born on the same day 3 years apart.
2. I am #6 of 8 children
3. I have 20 nieces and nephews
4. I am addicted to Pinterest and anything with polka dots
5. I have never been overseas
6. I drive my husband crazy with my organizational habits
7. I do all of my recreational reading over the summers (too busy during the school year with professional books)
8. I am horribly afraid of heights and tight places
9. I started my own vegetable garden 2 years ago and LOVE it!
10. I love chocolate and Dr. Pepper
11. I love going to the movies

My Nominees:
Cool School Counseling
Mrs. Elementary School Counselor
School Counseling Across the Pond
School Counselors Rock!
This Counselor's Journey

Your Questions to answer:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. Who or what inspires you?
3. What are your favorite counseling resources?
4. How do you keep track of all of your counseling notes?
5. What do you like most about school counseling?
6. How many students do you service?
7. What is your biggest struggle?
8. What is your biggest success?
9. What advice would you give a counseling intern or new counselor?
10. What is your favorite group or classroom lesson?
11. What are your favorite apps?

Have fun!

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Find!

I posted previously about using Google Drive to keep track of my counseling notes. I love Google Drive and will continue to use it to survey teachers for groups and other programming.

As I was searching my favorite blogs for back to school ideas, I came across noteCounselor.  I have explored many different ways to keep my notes that is both convenient and easily accessible.  noteCounselor has it all!  All of my notes are in one place that can be accessed from anywhere!  I have a link on my computer as well as my iPad so I can access my notes wherever I am.  Amanda Lea Chambers developed this secure note taking device especially for school counselors.  

Another feature that I like about noteCounselor is that it keeps track of the amount of hours I spent on all the facets of my job.  It is actually very rewarding to look at how much I do (and we just finished the 2nd week of school)!  

Even though I have just begun to use this resource, I HIGHLY recommend noteCounselor to all of the incredible school counselors out there!  

Click on the picture to learn more!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Google Drive...Yes, please!

Where has Google Drive been all my life???!!!

In an effort to become more organized, I began a Counseling Notebook to house all of my important documentation and information.  You can read about this notebook in a previous post.  I love this notebook and am very happy with the way it has kept me organized.

I will still use my Notebook for certain things but I was able to convert a few of my forms to Google Drive, thanks to the brilliant work of Andrea J Burston at JYJ Counselor Blog and Traci at Elementary School Counselor's Blog.  You can click on their blog names to check out the forms they created.  They use Google Drive for Minutes Meetings (stay tuned as I explore this during this school year) and the students that have been seen for the year.  I recreated these same documents and I am so excited to use them this year.

I was thinking of other ways I document throughout my program to see how else I could incorporate this wonderful bit of technology.  I created a Parent Communication Log form on Google Drive.  I currently keep this in my notebook and it ends up taking up so much space.  Google Drive automatically keeps a spreadsheet for all of my parent communications eliminating the need for paper copies. I'm all about saving the trees.....and my time!

I added all of the links right to my iPad for easy access (they look just like apps).

I am still thinking about other ways I can use Google Drive in my program and will post others that I come up with.  How do you use Google Drive in your counseling program?



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Small Group Counseling

Small group counseling is an area in my program that I feel needs some adjusting and fine tuning.  I don't feel that my efforts have been as successful as I would like.  I have been looking at other counseling blogs, Pinterest, and asking other counselors about how they run their small groups and if they are successful.  The good thing is that I am doing what other counselors are doing (validation is always a good thing).  The bad thing is that I don't feel that it is working...for me.

I am the only counselor in a K-5 elementary school with about 350 students. I see groups once a week for 6-8 weeks.  Once a week just does not seem sufficient for little guys.  The time in between is too long for them to really grasp what I am trying to teach them.  Plus, I am lucky if I get to them for each session, so it could be two weeks before I see them again. Ugh!  Talk about not feeling effective!

While sitting in training last week, the assistant principal and I were tossing around the idea of seeing groups consecutively for a shorter duration.  For example, every day for a week or two.  I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!  I can give some intense time and hopefully see better and faster results.  Now, I am not sure exactly how this will look or if it will be logistically possible, but I am sure going to give it a try!

I am also going to push into classrooms to intervene early to reduce the number of students requiring small group support.  Whew, things will be changing, but I'm up for the challenge.  Bring it on!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Organization Revisited

Now that school is out and I am thoroughly enjoying my summer, it is time to reflect on the year.  This is the time that I look at my counseling program to tweak before the next school year.  I will be adding to the documents that I already have on the following link all summer so check back periodically.  Happy summer! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Little Treasure

I love the dollar section at Target!  I found these thought cloud sticky notes and just knew I could put them to good use.  I work with several students who have a difficult time sharing their thoughts out loud.  I was working with one such student today and decided to break out the thought clouds.  It worked!  I got more out of using the thought clouds for 5 minutes than I have gotten out of him all year! Something about writing on these little pieces of paper seemed to make him less vulnerable and more willing to share. Who knew that such a small thing could make such a big difference!  I am already thinking about all the possible uses!  I highly recommend this Target dollar aisle treasure!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Data Continued

I am currently looking at AIMSweb for behavior.  There is data tracking, action planning and interventions embedded in this program.  Is anyone using this program?  I want to hear the practicality and benefits of the program.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Data, Data, Data!

Data drives most of our decisions in education. When I was a classroom teacher, it was easy to gather data about student progress.  I am finding data collection as a school counselor more challenging.  I see students at various times for varying lengths of time. I teach students strategies to use in the classroom and everyday life.  Then they go back to class.

How do I know that what I have taught them is being transferred and is effective?  I meet with teachers during scheduled monthly meetings, quickly in the hallway in between students or classes, via email and phone.  All of the communication is wonderful but I still have no hard evidence that what I am doing is "working."  I don't want to teach students random things that they are never using.  I NEED solid proof.  Pre and post evaluations are great but I want more regular data along the way.

So...my wheels have begun to turn.  How do I collect data without making the teachers more overwhelmed by filling out cumbersome date sheets (they have enough on their plates, as is).  I also become overwhelmed thinking how I will manage all of this data.  I am currently seeing approximately 85 students in groups or individually on a regular basis.  This does not include the responsive services I provide (when a student is in crisis or needs immediate attention), the classroom lessons I teach, the meetings I attend, the phone calls I make, the fires I put out,  the emails I send, the paperwork I complete, and the list goes on and on........

The thought of gathering and managing data makes my stomach turn over a bit.  But I am determined to figure something out!  Stay tuned as I muster through this time consuming, yet very important data collection process.  If anyone has anything they love, please share!  I love seeing what other awesome counselors are doing!

To be continued..................

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bystanders - How to UnMake A Bully, Volume 2

This is a great video about the roles that Bystanders playing in bullying situations.  I plan to use this video when talking to my 4th graders.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Organization Part 2: Counseling Notebook

I have added and changed some of the following forms.  Please click below to see the new and revised forms.



There are days/weeks that I feel like I am juggling a million things as a school counselor.  I have been looking for a system that will help me balance all of the facets of the job.  Below are some things I am currently using to help with this task.  I am constantly tweaking the organizational things that I use, but these things have helped me tremendously. 


I just started using a Counseling Notebook to help me keep everything handy and organized. 


Inside:

Lesson Plans:  I wanted to have a place where I could see my whole week's worth of lessons for Group Counseling, Individual Counseling, and Classroom Guidance.  This is what I have come up with.

This has been one of the best things I have done!  I type on mine and print it after I have planned for the
week.  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the documents.


This is an ongoing list of students I see throughout the day.  I jot them down because I get very busy but then can go back and make more detailed notes if needed.

This is the log that I currently use.

I keep track of any communication I have with Parents/Guardians. 
I have ABC tabs that I keep these sheets in for quick and easy access.

This is the form from my district that I am currently using but will probably tweak it.


I am also planning on adding a more detailed notes page for students who I see more frequently or need more notes on.  I am working on this and will post it when I am finished with it.

If you are interested in copies of any or all of my forms (some have been updated) I've shared them here. Google Docs

Do you have a Counseling Notebook?  If so, how do you organize it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Group Rewards

I was at the dollar store today and came across these little reward cones. I have made them out of regular cones, but these are so cute and the perfect size for a desk.  They seem pretty durable, too!  I can't wait to use them as rewards for group behavior!  One student each week will earn the cone to keep on their desk until the next meeting time.  My Kindergarteners love it and I hope the other students do, too.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

WOW!

All of us need to feel appreciated every now and again.  Why not tell your colleagues all the great things they are doing?  Below is a WOW! Notebook that was created to boost morale and give each other a pat on the back.  

When a staff member receives the notebook, they read the wonderful message that someone wrote for them.  They, in turn, write a note to another staff member to encourage, give a boost, or to just say how much they are appreciated.  At the bottom of the page they write, "Don't forget to pass it on....."  

How awesome is it to receive an unexpected kind note?!  Now go out there and spread the love!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting Organized: Part 1

I have been working on organizing my room, lessons, group work, and everything else.  I had to switch rooms in October and below is how I have arranged and organized my room. Stay tuned for Part 2 to see how I have organized the paperwork side of the job.


I give out newsletters after each lesson so parents know what was taught.  I post them in the hallway outside my room so everyone can see what we do in the Hanselor's room.


Here is my "Where is Mrs. Hansen" board so everyone knows where I am (unless I forget to move it).


The mailbox outside my door is for my little friends to leave me notes if I am out of my room.  
~I may have a slight polka dot obsession.~


Another look of right outside my door.


This sign hangs over my door handle so when my door closes everyone knows that I am working with students so they should just leave a note and I will get back to them. 
(Did I mention my obsession with polka dots?)


Right inside my door is a small table for my little bittie friend.  I also have quiet music playing all day and that is where I keep my CD player.


These bins are great for keeping all of the little things I use throughout the day with kids.  There are sensory materials in the top row, art supplies in the second row, and miscellaneous items in the bottom row.


This is my "Quiet Area" for kids (or adults) to come in and take a break.  The kids love to curl up in the big comfy chair.  I have a bucket of stuffed animals right next to the chair for anyone who needs a lovey for a minute.  This is my favorite area because it is so peaceful and cozy.


This is my whole class area.  I am lucky that my room is big enough to hold classroom guidance lessons.  I have my objectives posted in this area along with class name sticks and folders for every grade level that contains all the copies I need for lessons.


I have name sticks for every class to help with class management.


I keep all grade level materials for lessons on the left side of this shelving unit.  The right side is where I keep all of my group materials for the week.  I try to plan lessons and groups a week ahead of time so all materials are ready to go, but sometimes I get a little busy and it gets done the morning of the lesson or group.


This is my desk area that is always a dumping ground.  My goal is to have it cleaned up every evening but of course that doesn't always happen.  Life gets in the way!


My bookshelf with all of my counseling materials and binders.  This is a work in progress!


I use this area when working with the bigger kids.


I have my picture books organized in different categories for quick and easy access.


I house all the extra school supplies for students in need.  Teachers can come right in a grab what they need.


Small Group area.  Kids love beanbag chairs...so funny!


Counseling games



So that is a tour of my room and how I have organized all of my materials.  I am constantly looking for better ways to set up and organize so this will probably change a dozen times!

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour!






Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow Day!

My kids are so excited about the snow day today! I have to admit that I am equally excited!  I was thinking of all the things I could get done for school today.  But what I have decided instead is just to be a mom and snuggle with my kiddos!  Have a wonderful day and stay warm!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Guided Relaxation and Tension Reduction for Kids

I reposting this because I found a better way to upload the video.  This is a relaxation and tension reduction video for KIDS.  The kiddos I work with have really done well with it.  Use it at school or at home with your own kiddos.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Self-Reflection

This was a week of mixed emotions for me.  I have really been trying to reflect on my counseling program and how I can improve my work with students and staff.  In my quest for improvement, I sent out surveys to staff members and students.  I know, as everyone else, that I am not perfect and have a TON of room for improvement!  With that being said, it is never easy to get constructive (or sometimes not so constructive) criticism.

As I am reflecting on all of the surveys, I am learning that I have many things to feel good about and few things to work on.  I will be working very hard the rest of the year to improve the following things:
  • How quickly I respond when I am contacted by staff members.
  • Following up quickly and often after a referral has been made.
  • Tracking how effective my services are (Have students' made positive growth because of our work together?)
I have to admit that it was pretty scary putting myself "out there" for everyone to rate.  I also have to admit that I have taken the (not so great) comments hard.  However, one cannot grow without evaluating every now and again.  

Even though it was hard to hear some negative feedback, I am glad my collegues respect me enough to be honest.  I am also glad that I have colleagues who are constantly building me up and supporting me because they know that being the only counselor in a school is challenging (you all know who you are...thank you!)  

Whew....self-reflecting is hard!

Now for some smiles from the student surveys.  Kids are HILARIOUS!  Every single survey had something about bullying.  I teach four bullying lessons per year so I guess that is what sticks in their heads.  I have often been referred to as "the bully teacher."

My absolute favorites were the last question on the survey.  I have listed them below...enjoy!

Question
  ~What would you like to learn from your school counselor?

Answers
  ~How to catch a snake. (Ummm....not gonna happen!)
  ~How to drink caffeine. (I can handle this one!)
  ~How to play football. (This was my own son.)
  ~How to make a cake. (I like cake.)
  ~How to do a back flip. (Again....not gonna happen!)
  ~Learn about fleeing. (I'm hoping they meant feelings!)
  ~To tell us not to eat ice cream. (It's not a food group?)
  ~I already know all I need from her she is awesome! (This one made me feel good.)

Ok, time to get busy and make my counseling program rock!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bullying Lesson for 1st Graders

Bullying is a concept that many 1st graders just don't quite understand.  I decided to do a lesson that would use a visual so that the kiddos would have a concrete example of how bullying feels.

We started the lesson by discussing what they already knew about bullying.  We referenced past lessons and what they have seen around school.  I then introduced the main character of the book that we were reading.  I used a document camera to do a quick sketch of Hooper from the book Hooper Humperdink...?  Not Him! by Dr. Seuss.  We talked about how bullying makes others feel "crumpled up" on the inside.  As I read the story aloud, students gave a thumbs down every time something negative was done or said about Hooper.  When that happened, I crumpled the sketch of Hooper a little bit. 


By the end of the story Hooper was crumpled and torn as you see below.  We talked about how important it is to apologize for your actions but that it doesn't completely "fix" how the other person feels.  We used bandaids to represent saying sorry and how it helps a little but doesn't take all the hurt feelings away.  When you say something to someone, you can never take back what you said and it can often leave unseen scars. 

The students agreed that Hooper probably didn't feel so good about himself.  They said he must have felt sad, angry, left out, frustrated, lonely and embarrassed (pretty good insight for 1st graders). 


When the lesson was finished, each class wanted to hang the poster in their classrooms to remind them to use kind words, treat others with respect, and include everyone. 

This was one of my favorite lessons that I have done because I felt like the students really understood the concept of bullying much better.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Calm and Relaxing

I have been searching for decent guided relaxation audio/video for kids.  What I have found is that I like bits and parts of each of them but have not found one that I like in its entirety.  Since I work with such a wide range of age levels, I was looking for one that would work for everyone.  As I was talking with my new intern the other day, she mentioned that I should just make one myself.  DUH!  So I went to work in my bedroom (away from noisy children and husband) and came up with a short guided relaxation audio/video for kids.

I would love some feedback on how it sounds and please be honest (but not mean).  Is it too hokey?  Too short?  Silly?

What do you think????

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Advice for a New Counselor

I had my first counseling intern begin today.  For the past few days, I have been thinking of all of the things that I wish I knew or had experienced before I started my counseling journey so that I can share them with her.  Here are the things that I think all potential counselors need to know:
  • Be flexible!!!! I have a weekly schedule of all of my lessons, groups, meetings and individual kiddos that I need to see. No matter how much I try to stick to my schedule, things inevitably come up. Therefore I try to be very flexible with my scheduling and often needing to reschedule things.
  • Have the ability to switch gears quickly. There are many times that you will go from a child melting down, to teaching a lesson, to sitting in a Children's Division investigation, to drying a Kindergartner's tears. My best advice to this is to take a few deep breaths and keeping going. if you have a minute to take a break (even if you lock yourself in the restroom), take it!
  • Have a sense of humor. The life of a counselor can often be very challenging and demanding. No matter the situation, find something to laugh about (even if you are laughing at yourself). Laughter is truly the best medicine and can help you stay emotionally available when you are needed.
  • Be organized. I cannot stress this one enough! Find what works for you when organizing your room, supplies, notes, thoughts, lessons, files, etc. It took me a few years to really get the organization thing down but I am always tweaking to make it better.
  • Remain open to suggestions and new ideas. No matter how long you have been in counseling there are always new and different ways of doing things. 
  • Stay on top of new ideas. Join chats, Facebook groups, and follow blogs. We can learn so much by helping and teaching others.
  • Be a team player. There is no way I would be able to do my job well without the AMAZING people I work with. Working with kids is a collaborative effort! I have always loved the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." However in a school it should be, "It takes a village to educate a child." No one is alone in the process of teaching our students.
  • Find people you can turn to. Many elementary schools only have one counselor per building. I could see how someone could feel very isolated and alone in a school. It is vital to find people in your school who can support you and can be a shoulder for you. Find a another counselor or group of counselors you can meet up with every once and awhile to support each other. 
  • Take care of yourself! Whatever it is that helps you unwind...do it! Whether it is a bubble bath, dinner out with friends, a massage, or exercise, make sure you have something that you can do to keep your mental health strong.  
I truly feel that I have the best job in the world! Just like most jobs, counseling has its ups and downs. However, I would not trade it! If you are thinking about a career in counseling, you will not find a job that is more challenging and rewarding (with the exception of teaching).  

What advice would you give to a new counselor?  I would love to hear your ideas (and may steal some for myself).