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    Stress Management in Speech Pathology

    Stress Management in Speech Pathology

    7 minute read

    Stress Management in Speech Pathology

    stress management in speech pathology

    Today's guest post comes to us from an incredible school-based SLP, hoping to share some insight for the many of us battling burnout and stress in our field.

    Through my own journey with stress management, I have been working really hard on avoiding burnout. I’ve been researching new strategies when I can, talking with my therapist, and having conversations with you guys and the SLP community about how to create and practice the balance of work life and personal life. I say “practice” because it’s a constant struggle for me to find a good and healthy balance between all of parts of my life. And guess what… THAT’S OKAY! Taking time for yourself is HARD WORK. What I know for sure is that there is true value in being a part of this beautiful SLP community where many of us come together, share our thoughts and advice, and support one another when times are tough. Here are some tips I have learned along the way about stress management for speech pathology.


    Setting Work Boundaries: Time

    It’s so important to set work boundaries. Leave that work behind when you step out of the building on a Friday- It’s OKAY to not do work over the weekend. Still need some time to catch up on paperwork outside of the school day? Set a timer, such as one hour after work, and when the alarm goes off, the paperwork is packed away and take the rest of the night off. Are you an early riser? Get to work a little early one day, catch up on some tasks, and when the final bell goes off, do not look back. Don’t even take that paperwork home with you “just in case.” Trust me, your mind and body will thank you for it.

    Setting Work Boundaries: NO

    “No, I’m unable to help out with lunch duty on Tuesdays as that is my IEP team meeting day.” “No, I can’t help out with arrival duties this school year as that is my therapy prep time.” Wow, this one is so tough but so liberating. It’s perfectly okay to say no to extra tasks or tasks that you do not have time in your schedule for. If you are asked to do something and feel that you do not realistically have the time to complete it, then a simple and respectful no is all that it takes to be taken off your plate.

    Take Your Lunch

    Last school year, I worked through lunch each and every single day. I now schedule a half hour lunch in my schedule every day and either eat in the staff room, on a picnic bench on campus (while the weather has been nice!), or I have even taken a little walk or drive on my lunch to break up the day a little bit and incorporate a natural movement break. This was a simple and effective change to my routine that I made this school year that provides me with a brain break and the ability to regain the energy that I need to get through the second half of my day.

    Make The Time For YOU

    Carve out time for your own happiness and I promise you it will go a long way! Binge watch episodes of your favorite show or start watching a new show! Exercise. Read that new book that has been collecting dust on your nightstand but you have been dying to finally read. Craft, bake, shop, do a puzzle, start a new hobby-- there is no wrong way to spend your time on YOU.

    Phone Boundaries

    Too much time on social media may make you feel like everyone has their life together and that’s when feelings of inadequacy start to creep in. STOP! After a certain time at night, put your phone away. Read a book instead, catch up on tv, get some extra sleep in. This can help refocus your mindset and wind down for the night.



    There are so many benefits of meditation. Embedding it into your routine is an amazing way to practice mindfulness, center yourself, and reduce your stress. There are many apps and guided meditations on YouTube. Click HERE to learn more about mediation, it’s benefits, and for recommendations, tips, and techniques. One of my favorites free apps is called Insight Timer!

    Mindfulness Techniques

    In addition to meditation, there are so many more mindfulness techniques to try! The adult coloring book may seem trendy but it actually has scientific benefits! Coloring helps to relax the fear center of your brain (the amygdala), improve your motor skills and vision by tapping into both hemispheres of your brain, and improve your focus by opening up your frontal lobe that controls organization and problem solving. (Learn something new every day!) Journaling is also another great, healthy habit! Journaling evokes mindfulness, helps your brain regulate your emotions, boosts your mood and keeps your memory sharp. Need other ways to incorporate mindfulness at work? Set up string lights or lamps in your speech office! Shut the fluorescent lights off and use natural light when you can.



    Abby here! I just want to share... Therapy has changed not just my SLP life, but my entire mindset and the way I handle my anxiety. There are so many different forms of therapy, from zoom calls to phone calls to even texting! You can set therapy up in whatever mode is most comfortable and beneficial to YOU. If you're seeking help, my biggest tip is to remember: "not one size fits all." It may take a few trials before finding YOUR perfect fit. I encourage you to not give up! It took me a couple tries before finding my current therapist, and she's remarkable. I am able to manage so much stress and anxiety thanks to her and the work we are putting in together. I'm here for you if you ever want to chat more about this! 



    A sure way to keep your body moving and gain energy is to incorporate opportunities for exercise during your weekly routine (or where you can)! Have you been meaning to try that new Zumba class at the gym? Ask a friend to tag along after work! Have a bike path nearby? Go for a walk or jog with your pet, a friend, a significant other, or gain some alone time with yourself and your Spotify! Exercise can come in all shapes and sizes, so find what works for YOU.


    Play Music

    I know I *INSTANTLY* become a happier person when I am jamming out to music! I try to add music where I can to my household chores or routines- such as asking Alexa to play some 90s pop jams while I am washing dishes, or belting out mid-2000s emo punk rock songs while I am in the shower reminiscing about how much black eyeliner I used to put on in 2006! (IYKYK)

    Hot Shower

    Speaking of showers, do you enjoy taking a hot shower or hot bath to relax? DO IT!


    It’s scientifically proven that laughter helps relieve stress! Find moments in your day where you can infuse laughter/humor. Maybe it’s ending with a joke during therapy for your students. Maybe it’s watching a comedy when you get home from work. Whatever it is, make sure to stop and truly enjoy the moments around you.

    Incorporating a variety of these mindful tips and techniques can significantly reduce your stress, help avoid the feeling of burnout, boost your mood and overall confidence. It takes hard work to focus on yourself and it’s not something that happens overnight. Start out small and play around with different techniques that work within your lifestyle. Reach out to friends in the SLP Community! I’d love to hear from you all about how you manage stress! Any topics I didn’t cover here? Tell me below! Love hearing from this beautiful community!

    Remember: You are human. You are amazing. You MATTER.

    --Abby & Katelyn

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