53 Easy Ways for Early Childhood Educators to Prioritize Mental Health in 2023

53 Easy Ways for Early Childhood Educators to Prioritize Mental Health in 2023

Easy Ways for Early Childhood Educators to Prioritize Mental Health in 2023

Changing health guidelines, staffing shortages, and extra uncertainty only add additional stress to you and fellow childcare providers, which is why it’s extremely important to prioritize your mental health this year. Putting your mental health first will help you take better care of yourself, which in turn, ensures that you can take better care of your students, family, and business! 

In a recent webinar, we asked hundreds of early childcare directors, providers, and teachers for their tried-and-true strategies for prioritizing their mental health. Here are some of their responses!

Set boundaries

  • Protect your peace of mind by making choices about what you are going to respond to, whether it is personal or professional. 
  • Set hard boundaries and stick to them to  find a healthy work-life balance.
  • Watch and/or listen to the news less frequently if it impacts your mental health or mindset. 
  • Charge your phone outside of your bedroom so you get a moment to wake up before seeing and responding to social media and work-related messages. 
  • Give yourself permission to go offline outside of working hours.

Prioritize mental health as a community

  • Have monthly mental health checks for every employee to check in and see how you can support each other.
  • Join supportive groups in person or online.
  • Decompress with coworkers at the end of the day to get to know them outside of work. 
  • Share positive thoughts with your students and faculty to create an encouraging and supportive culture at your center.
  • Practice yoga or other mental health exercises (such as watching our webinar on community support) during staff meetings.
  • Instead of conducting meetings sitting down, check in during a ten-minute walk. 
  • Assign buddies in the workplace for support.
  • Set up recurring calls with another local director or educator to learn from and support each other.
  • Complete a Breathe for Change class to bring yoga and mindfulness to your community.
  • Talk with a close friend.
  • Practice belly breathing with your students and on your own.
  • Send a joke or affirmation with your daily emails to staff members.

Reframe your thinking

  • When driving or commuting to work, try to get your feelings and thoughts in tact and get into a positive mindset.
  • When dealing with something that makes you nervous, stressed, or anxious, try separating your thoughts from the facts.
  • Wait a day to respond to messages that are particularly stressful or frustrating.
  • Practice gratitude - think of three things you’re thankful for every morning or when your mental health is struggling.
  • When you’re feeling stressed, use these statements from Mindful Schools to shift your perspective: 
    • Nothing is wrong; I am facing a challenge and it will all be okay!
    • I do have the resources to meet this experience. 
    • I need to take a pause and ground myself in this moment, just as it is. 

Seek comfort in the things you enjoy

  • Spend time with your family and pets. 
  • Listen to audiobooks.
  • Make art, whether that’s knitting, crochet, painting, drawing, or anything else!
  • Bake a treat for yourself.
  • Watch comforting videos like home videos, ASMR, or cute animal videos!
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Take a walk to clear your head and enjoy nature.
  • Go to a Zumba or dance class.  
  • Visit a comedy club or watch a comedy show. 
  • Treat yourself with a manicure or pedicure.
  • Buy an adult coloring book - and don’t worry about coloring in-between the lines!
  • Set aside time to unwind in the evenings. 
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Dress up and take yourself out!

Take care of yourself

  • Check in yourself often. Ask yourself “What brings me joy? What makes me feel stressed out or anxious? What does my mind need? What does my body need?”
  • Attend therapy or counseling—we all need someone to talk to!
  • Take a REAL break midday so you can return to work refreshed!
  • Listen to soft instrumental music while working to create a peaceful environment.
  • Set aside time to be spiritual, whether that’s meditating, praying, or reading scripture. 
  • Practice yoga in the mornings or evenings to unwind. 
  • Give yourself a foot massage.
  • Do breathing exercises when you start feeling overwhelmed.
  • Taking time for spirituality in the morning with some meditation, scripture, prayer.
  • Enjoy a cup of green tea or a snack that contains magnesium (which helps to reduce anxiety and stress).
  • Read for personal development. 
  • Journal for 10 minutes in the evenings.
  • Use your sick time for mental health appointments—mental health is health!
  • Try out vagus icing techniques for stress and anxiety management.
  • Burn aromatherapy candles when you come home from work.
  • Try repeating affirmations when you encounter stressful situations.

How brightwheel can help

Brightwheel is an effective tool to help administrators save time on daily tasks so that they can spend more time on children, families, and their mental health. 

With brightwheel, managing tuition, creating and sending daily sheets, and communicating with families can be done with just a few clicks. We’ve heard that brightwheel has helped educators save around 20 hours a month on busywork, reducing stress and toll on their mental health. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how brightwheel can save you time and reduce stress, schedule a demo with us today!

More mental health resources

From all of us at brightwheel, thank you so much for the hard work and dedication you’ve put into supporting our littlest learners and their families. We hope you have a great year ahead!

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