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What is Self-Care?

Some people picture bubble baths and candles when they read the words “self-care.” Often the list of self-care options we think about require buying things. The truth is that self-care requires no financial investment. Self-care means taking care of yourself, in ways that are specific to you, to keep your mind and body healthy. Depending on what makes you feel restored, self-care can be something like giving yourself a break or doing things that make you feel good, like resting, playing, or spending time outdoors.

Why is self-care important for early childhood educators?

“If we don’t prioritise our own physical health, our own mental health, then we can’t bring our best selves to work. That’s what we owe our families and the children that we work with. We need to make sure we are providing the best support that we can and we can only do that when we’re healthy.” -CECE at Eastern Connecticut State University

Self-care is particularly important for ECEs because it increases your resilience, prevents burnout, and enhances overall job satisfaction. Amidst the demands of nurturing young minds, ECEs must prioritise activities that replenish their energy and nurture their mental health.

Simple yet impactful practices like reading, playing with a pet, painting, yoga, colouring, meditation, or walking offer accessible avenues for self-care. These activities require no purchases and can be seamlessly integrated into daily routines. Reading, painting, or colouring provide mental stimulation and relaxation, while interacting with pets offers unconditional love and stress relief. Yoga and meditation promote mindfulness, reducing anxiety and enhancing emotional regulation. Walking in nature rejuvenates the spirit and fosters a sense of calm.

When choosing your self-care options, take note of how you feel after you’re finished with the activity. Does scrolling through your social media for an hour make you feel more rested afterwards or more tired? Does going for a walk after work make you feel calmer or does it deplete your energy? Each person is different and so each person’s self-care activity is going to be different, too.

By embracing these individualised self-care practices, ECEs can sustain their passion, resilience, and effectiveness in nurturing young learners, ultimately creating a more supportive and enriching environment when at work.

Click here to watch the video, “The Importance of Self-Care for Early Care and Education Professionals” created by the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.


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