By Emma Thomas
Working in early childhood we are people who give and give. We give our time, energy and emotion to the children we care for, their families and our workplace. It can be a challenging job and we need to make sure we are caring for ourselves. As they say, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’! So what does practical self care look like?
I strongly believe that self care isn’t just for evenings and weekends! We need to be looking after ourselves each day during work hours.
Workplace culture is so important and something that can’t be faked. It is critical to your mental health to find a workplace where you feel respected and cared about, both professionally and personally. Don’t settle for a workplace that takes advantage of you or doesn’t respect your boundaries.
We all want to work with people who are flexible and supportive, so we can start by being that person! Then when we need support we can ask for, and expect help from those around us.
Working with young children our days can fill up with routine and jobs, but there are also so many opportunities for joy and laughter! Think about things which ‘fill your cup’ and incorporate them into each day. Could you engage in yoga, have a dance party, or simply sit in the sunshine and enjoy a good book together.
Know your why
Finding your why is a critical part of self care. When you know with certainty why you do what you do you will find more purpose in each day. Simon Sinek has great resources to help you ‘find your why’ – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ss78LfY3nE). We know that there will be stressful moments in our jobs, but when we are sure of ourselves we are better able to handle the storms.
It is ok to not be ok
We are all going to have times when we are not ok. It may be due to issues at work or things that are happening in your personal life. You are never alone, as long as you reach out and let someone know how you are feeling.
Identify (if you can)
- why you are feeling the way you are feeling
- what can I do right now that will help
- what do I need to plan for to help long term
- who do I need to talk to
- What can I do
- What you can control and what you can’t control