Working with young children can be incredibly rewarding, but it does come with many challenges that can take a toll on your mind, emotions and body.
Dealing with challenging behavior, conflicts, parent demands and organizing your lessons can be exhausting, and an exhausted teacher cannot be 100% effective. Preschool teacher burnout is so common. Staying healthy in childcare is important and educators should make time to recharge and beat the stressors they encounter in their career.
Happy, successful child care professionals practice self-care. This means taking time for yourself and reenergizing your mind, body, and emotional health. If you’re an early childhood educator looking for self-care tips, we recommend you try the following ideas:
Know Your Stressors
Try to recognize the situations that cause you the most stress, as well as your body’s unique stress signals such as feelings of anxiety or headaches. Knowing which things stress you out most and being able to identify when stress is coming on will help you be better prepared to cope.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Even short breaks can reenergize you. Take frequent 5-minute breaks throughout the day if possible, staying hydrated, eating healthy snacks and giving your mind a rest.
Schedule “Me Time”
Planning time to do the things you love is essential to revitalize your spirit. Set out a block of time on a weekly basis to enjoy your hobbies, relax and read a book, work on a personal project or simply do nothing at all. The key is to break your routine and do something just for you.
Look for the Positive
If you’ve had a particularly rough day, look to something positive to pick you up. Keep a book of inspirational quotes in your desk, or re-read kind notes and great feedback from parents and peers.
Connect With Friends
Spending time with a good friend, family member, or even a pet can relieve stress. Your loved ones are there to support you and offer a safe place for you to express your feelings and frustrations. Remember that you are not alone!
Your favorite physical activity is an excellent way to practice self-care as a child care professional. Whether you choose to run, dance, take a yoga class or just go for a walk, moving your body has many beneficial effects on both your emotional and physical well-being.
Remember that you cannot care for others unless you take care of yourself as well. Use the above tips to help you be a more effective child care professional and avoid stress, burnout and negative feelings.
For more on reducing stress for you and your students, check out our blog post on The Power of Mindfulness in the Classroom.
To learn more about the origin of early childhood education and the many influences that make the field what it is today, check out our post about the history of early childhood education.