Updated: May 23
Wellness for Educators Educators are responsible for the physical, emotional and intellectual wellbeing of some of the most important citizens of our society. And as if that isn’t enough, educators consistently rise to the challenge of ever-changing regulations and licensing requirements, while devoting time and energy to continued professional development as educators.
Where does our own wellness factor in? The role of an educator requires us to maintain a steady, even keel while responding to the moment to moment demands of the role. Often ECE’s are juggling the needs of many- usually at the expense of their own. Great early childhood education comes from great educators- and with a few considerations, a little mindful attention and discernment can be made to stay brilliant! A key consideration is to maintain balance in the different areas of our health. It is so important to consider all aspects of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
You are at the centre, yellow represents mindful awareness. This can be done by paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and what is going on around you. The green area represents the different ways you might practice self-care in the 7 areas of health. The outside blue ring represents more formal care- this might include medical care, mental health care and more! To maintain overall balance and wellbeing, it is helpful to reflect on all areas of our health and assess where are now without judgement and make discerning choices for what we need moment to moment. It can be helpful as educators to develop a plan of self-care - a plan that you can turn to for guidance on a difficult day and to guide your actions on a daily basis.
As you read through the following areas, jot down a few ideas and keep them handy for your own self- care plan.
Mind-body This area reflects the connection between our thoughts and feelings and how they might show up in the body. Self-care practices in this area might look like
progressive muscle relaxation
guided imagery to engage the bodies relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system)
mental health resources
Nutrition Includes developing healthy, well-rounded nutritional choices that support your overall health and wellbeing. This means including a balanced, nutritional diet and limiting substances such alcohol, caffeine and other substances. Some may find due to the their workweek demands that it is helpful to meal prep on the weekend or look into affordable meal companies nearby.
Movement, Exercise + Rest Developing sustainable habits that you enjoy and meets your needs. Movement is meant to be enjoyable. You may wish to include:
A daily walk
Exercise or Fitness Routine
Under this area we also consider rest - our bodies aren’t meant to go, go, go! Rest and sleep are important for overall sense of wellbeing and health as educators. How do you ensure that you are getting the amount of rest you need?
Personal and Professional Development Ongoing awareness of where you are with personal and career goals. How do you maintain a growth mindset in your life? This includes your Continuous Professional Learning Plan and other career goals. How are you taking actionable steps towards your goals?
Is there someone that you can enlist to support you in this area (a mentor or coach?)
Relationships and Communication We are social beings and “connection is key” as Dr. Jean Clinton shares!
Our social network is vital to our wellbeing as educators. Our colleagues and our teams can be a tremendous support and continued clear, positive and open communication can help support us at work in our personal relationships.
Spirituality Our spiritual practices might include attending places of worship, prayer and worship. This might also involve cultivating a connection to nature, gardening or including a gratitude practice in your regular routine.
Physical Environment As educators, we’re aware of the importance of our physical environment to meet our own safety needs and to support our own mental health. Our work and home environments can greatly impact our sense of wellbeing; including maintaining an organized, aesthetically pleasing space that reflects your values and preferences.
The most important thing to remember is that while we all share the same areas of health, the ways that we practice self-care will be unique for each of us.