Self-Care for Educators in Early Learning
Teaching is a stressful job at any level – early education or K-12. Educators spend so much time putting their effort and energy towards others that they often forget to care for themselves.
When teachers feel stressed during the school year, it leads to burnout and high turnover rates which makes it difficult for children to learn. By taking care of themselves first, educators can be a better resource and take better care of their students.
Here are five self-care activities that will help reduce stress and create healthy habits for early educators.
Meditation is a set of techniques that encourages awareness and focus. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
The sense of calm you get from meditating can help with relaxation or be used to cope with stress. The benefits don’t end when you finish meditating. Long-term benefits of meditation may include:
- Skills to manage stress
- Increased self-awareness
- Reduced negative emotions
- Increased creativity
- Increase patience
- Better sleep habits
Yoga and Stretching
Yoga is one of the best methods of self-care since the benefits can be both physical and mental. This practice uses breathing, posture and imagery techniques to reduce stress and make you feel calm and happier.
Stretches should be held for around 20 seconds. This is especially helpful for slowing your body down after high-stress activities. Another form of physical activity, yoga can provide similar benefits of relieving nervousness and anxious feelings.
Here are 10 yoga poses to get you started. Move slowly and remember to breathe!
Self-care doesn’t always have to be about you and your time. Giving your time back to your community can be meaningful and energizing. Volunteering in your community brings people closer together and creates opportunity to make new friends, expand your network and improve your social skills.
Volunteering gets you out of the house and interacting with others, helps provide a shift in perspective, and helps you feel good knowing you made a difference. It does not matter what type of volunteering you do. The mental health benefits are the same whether it’s making drop offs for your local food bank or landscaping at a local park.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Nature-based self-care has many physical and mental health benefits. Time spent outside can decrease stress, depression and anxiety while also decreasing the risk of heart disease. With the spring rain quickly turning into the summer sun in Indiana, now is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors.
Have your morning coffee on the porch, eat your lunch outside or enjoy an evening walk. You can even incorporate nature into your curriculum as a self-care opportunity for the little learners in your classroom. Here are some ways you can get your classroom learning outside.
Listen to a Podcast
Self-care doesn’t only mean relaxation. Podcast listening is a great self-improvement practice that can turn free time into quick and easy education. Podcasts can range from 10 minutes to many hours so you can spend a whole day listening or just a few minutes on your way to work.
Self-Care for Educators is a podcast hosted by Tina Boogren and helps educators dig into the essential work of self-care via bite-sized episodes that fit into your busy schedule.
When educators prioritize self-care, it minimizes stress and burnout while maximizing productivity. This creates better learning environments for developing children of all ages.