Revel in the Small Wins – Strategies for Self-Care

Jillian DuBoisBlog, Reflect Better, Self Care Better


  • Keep the little notes students write you in a file for when you need a smile.
  • Focus on the small sparks of joy you get throughout each day.
  • Write down the great things that happen to you!

Keeper File

Over the holidays, I received a handwritten card in the mail from one of my 2nd-grade students, Abby. It was a simply drawn picture of her and me holding hands. The two of us were standing under an arch of flowers and it read, “Miss DuBios, I miss your dancing, reading to us, and letting us take off our shoes. See you soon.” (Yes, that is how she spelled my name!) 

The fact that she thought of me over break made my heart leap inside as I reread her card at least ten times. It definitely went right into my ‘Keeper File’ forever.

I considered this a BIG WIN

This 8-year-old had taken the time to create an original drawing, put it in an envelope, addressed it, and probably begged her mom to mail it. She considered my feelings and took a small action to make me full of joy. This led me to some creative innovation as I thought about the vision I wanted to cast for the new year ahead.

Let’s celebrate the small victories. I would consider this the greatest form of self-care and nurture. Look for the good in the daily grind. Click To Tweet

Dream Big!

At the beginning of each year, we aspire to dream big. We strive to set new resolutions and goals that we honestly have trouble sticking with throughout the months. It’s easy to cast off the self-inflicted shame by noting that “there will always be next year” to begin the cycle again. 

I love assembling new goals for each year. But one thing I have consistently noticed is that I am building an overwhelming, massive action plan to accomplish them. This year my initiative is to pause this mindset. I have found that I am missing out on the SMALL wins by trying to construct the goals that will bring BIG results. 

Do you know what I am saying? 

Come on, I mean finding that $5 bill in the pocket of the winter coat you wore last year is a sudden jolt of joy. 

Remembering that you still have $20 left on that Chipotle gift card from your student that you uncovered from your desk drawer is GOLDEN! 

Having great parking karma as you find that spot right up front. Nothing more needed to say about this one. 

One more…knowing that you have nothing on your schedule for the evening and can be in bed watching Netflix by 8:00 pm…PRICELESS.

A recent poll of over 2,000 Americans suggested that the average person has four small wins per day. 

I would beg to differ. That may be the number that we acknowledge, right? But think about it. How many times are we consciously aware of the little successes and wins that come into our lives on a regular basis? I believe that there are HUNDREDS of small wins each day. That adds up.

Let’s celebrate the small victories. I would consider this the greatest form of self-care and nurture. Look for the good in the daily grind. Make a choice to laugh at yourself, to share in an accomplishment of a colleague, or to simply uncover those slightly hidden gems that will make a positive impact on our emotional and mental health. 

Revel in the Small Wins: How can YOU make this a reality?

Great question. Here are two practical ways you can put this into practice.

Tell someone about your small win.

Not to brag or boast pridefully to make it sound like you are ‘strutting your swagger’ (I just made that up, feel free to use however you like). This creates a stream of accountability for yourself. It could be as simple as texting a friend the link to the song that you sang off-key to in the car this morning on your commute. Maybe you changed the batteries in the remote control without throwing it across the room. I am talking SMALL, yet MIGHTY wins that make you feel that you are now the world’s leading optimist. It doesn’t take much.

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Write down the small wins.

Don’t keep them in your head. Be mindful and intentional to physically pause for just a moment to revel in whatever just brought the win. Grab a journal (if you must, use a digital notepad) and feel that writing tool touch the surface of that paper. We tend to place more confidence in the things that we can SEE and FEEL and TOUCH. Believe that this will keep the momentum moving forward. Keep your list on hand because once you start, it will keep flowing!

The smallest obstacle can be detrimental to our wins if we allow it. We have the advantage of using those roadblocks to help us listen, learn, and grow. They are not meant to be ignored, but even overcoming the most difficult day is a WIN. 

The victories are there. If we lose sight of the wins, goals, or visions, it could prevent the results from happening the way we are meant to see them. I keep Abby’s card as a reminder to keep searching purposefully for the treasured wins. I encourage you to do the same. With joy. Make every win feel like a home run.

About Jillian DuBois

Jillian DuBois currently serves as an elementary school educator in Clearwater, FL. She has worked both in public and private educational settings for over 20 years. Her passion is to initiate, instill, and infuse joy to those in educational leadership through blogs and podcasts. Jillian uses her voice to help foster hope for student equity and empathy. Outside of school, you will find Jillian outdoors, soaking up the sun and surf, or finding new paths to hike with her husband and son. You can visit her website here!