Meeting Our Own Needs During COVID-19

Dr. William Glasser was ahead of his time in terms of the idea of self-care. He taught us about the five basic needs decades ago, and he taught us that we needed to meet our own needs in order to live effective lives. Self-care is not a soothing bath or a spa day. Rather, self-care is meeting your own needs for power, freedom, belonging, survival and fun.

When I think back to life before March 13th, I recognize that I was doing a pretty good job of meeting my own needs. What profession could help you meet your need for belonging more than being an elementary principal? There is no “six-foot apart” rule in elementary schools–my goodness, we’re lucky if we get two inches of space from our sweet students. As I reflect, I see how my husband and I made sure to get regular date nights to help meet our needs for freedom and fun. I realize that helping teachers solve problems is incredibly empowering. Man, I had it pretty good back then. And, I am proud to say that I knew I had it good and I was very thankful.

When you think back to live before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you meet your need for power? For freedom? Belonging? Survival? Fun? Which of those activities, people, or places are still available to you now that we are stay-at-home-educators? Honestly, not many.

One thing has not changed, we still need to meet our five basic needs in order to be our best selves. How do we do that when so many need-satisfying things have been ripped from us? It’s no wonder we just feel “off” a lot of the time.

Don’t worry, not all hope is lost. Of course we can still meet our needs at home, we just have to get a little creative. The first step is self-awareness. Dr. Glasser taught us that we all have five need “tanks” within us, one for each of the five basic needs. The tanks are all different sizes for every person, depending on the strength of each need. Here are a couple pages from my book, Through the Lens of Serendipity, that can help you understand the size of your need tanks.

Five Basic Needs Questions (1)

Recognizing the size of our need tanks allows us to look around our homes to see how we might meet our needs during this COVID-19 crisis. I have a big need for power, so I definitely need to make sure I am meeting that need by doing things like helping others problem-solve,  calling colleagues to see how they are coping,  and sending out Google Forms to check-in with staff and families. I miss people, so I make sure I incorporate things like Zoom sessions with extended family into my week. It is really hard to meet our need for freedom when we are stuck at home, so it is important find a calm spot to escape to read or listen to music, or to get out and take a walk. We can do this! Our new temporary normal might not be full of our preferred activities or what we would be doing if we were not stuck at home, but they can get the job done.

I would love to hear how you are meeting your needs for power, freedom, belonging, survival and fun during COVID-19. Let’s inspire each other! Tag me on social media using @AllysonApsey and/or #SerendipityEDU.

Good or bad, everything we do is our best choice at that moment.

-William Glasser

four books

Check out the #SerendipityEDU books on Amazon by clicking HERE! Each book is filled with inspiration to help us discover the gifts in along life’s journey. With the addition of my newest book, a middle-grades chapter book called The Serendipity Journal, there is a book for every age level. There is no better time to start looking for happy accidents!

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