This course is designed to assist you with learning the importance of self care for educators. Even under "normal" circumstances, education can be a stressful career path. In light of Covid-19 and the new restrictions that are placed on providers, both at home and in the workplace, self-care is more important than ever.
As you navigate through this course, the hope is that you will understand the importance of self-care, discover what self-care means to you and create an intentional plan for self-care.
Learners will define self-care.
Learners will explore the importance of self-care.
Learners will discover what specific types of self-care to personally practice.
Learners will create an intentional plan to practice self-care.
This course provides 1.0 hours of professional development for early childhood educators.
Participants are required view the complete virtual training and complete the discussion and both pre- and post-tests. Participants must receive a score of 80% or higher to receive credit for this course.
Course certificates are emailed within 3-5 business days upon successful completion of all course content.
This Pre-Test is a REQUIRED graded assessment, with 5 questions and a prerequisite to the online training. The sole purpose of this pretest is for you to test your knowledge about self-care for educators prior to completing the training.
Worry About You-Self?
This child is most definitely learning more about independence! She is figuring out who she is and what she is capable of.
What can we learn from her concerning self care? One important thing we can learn from her is that while she is clearly struggling, she refuses help, even when it is offered several times. Sound familiar? How many times in your day or week do you struggle with something, need help, and refuse to ask for it? We get caught up in the thinking that we need to do everything on our own, that we can "only depend on yourself" and we get caught in a whirlwind of stress, anxiety, and our struggles leading only to burnout.
There are so many cliché statements surrounding self care as it has become a buzz word in a lot of communities, including education. There is no better time for this conversation than now. In the midst of all that is going on, it is time to "take time for yourself", "fill your own cup before you fill others", "put your own oxygen mask on first", and remember that "self care is not selfish". (That was at least 4 cliché statements! ;)
I promise that this course will not be filled with all those cliché statements and encouragement to "take a bubble bath" or "just go get a mani/pedi". That can be self-care, but it is not what we are talking about in this course. We are talking about taking care of you-self, your "whole" self.
Self care is a practice. A journey so to speak. It is not a "one and done" situation. It requires intentionality, planning, and boundaries. As we unpack this topic, I encourage you to take notes, make a plan, and commit to beginning to practice self care if you do not already. If you do already practice self care, the hope is that you might look at it a bit differently after this course and recommit and/or readjust your self care plan.
Lucille Ball said, "Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You have to really love yourself to get anything done in this world". Self-care is a part of self-love. It is a part of self-awareness, self-regulation, and allows us to be our best selves for those we love and cherish. (Last cliché, I promise, well, maybe.... )
Continue on to our first discussion board before moving onto Module 2. Share your answers and respond to at least 2 others.
1. How do you define the term "self care"?
2. Do you currently have a self care practice? If so, share a few things that practice includes.
3. Do you think self care is important to educators? Why or why not?
What Is Self-Care?
Self care is mindfully and intentionally talking time to pay attention to yourself. It can include the following:
Recognizing when you have too much on your plate and trying to find ways to slow down.
Knowing how much sleep you need to feel your best and getting as close to that as possible.
Eating enough food- and enough of the right food- to provide the energy you need.
Finding ways to decompress during the day.
Learning your personal limits and knowing how to prepare for them.
Identifying what you like to do and making an effort to incorporate those activities into your week.
It is about making sure each aspect of your health is functioning at it's best.
Self care should be a priority and not a luxury.
What Is Not Self-Care?
Self care is not simply indulging in a special "treat".
It isn't simply about neglecting important things or responsibilities to "do nothing" or binge Netflix all day.
Self care is not a one and done situation. It is not a "one size fits all" practice.
Realize that what your best friend considers self care may or may not be what you consider to be life giving and refueling.
Self care is not just another thing to add to your to-do list that creates more stress in your life because you don't have time to "get it done".
Self care is not doing something because someone told you that self care is "xyz". It is about doing the activities and using methods that work for you.
If practicing self care begins to feel like an obligation, and not a relief, you should reconsider your methods.
**Keep in mind that what seems like a few days of self-negligence, can turn into months and years quickly, and the cumulative effect will burn you down eventually. Self care is crucial to our overall well-being. When we don't practice self-care, we feel depleted and it can lead to a host of physical and mental health problems. We can't show up for others if we don't show up for ourselves first by practicing self care.
Is it Self-Care or Not Quiz
Physical self care encompasses the things that you do to take care of your physical self. This could be as simple as putting on lotion after a shower, taking a hot bath, face masks, or making sure you are drinking enough water. Some other things that physical self care includes are regular visits to your doctor and dentist, taking vitamins and prescribed medication, and doing some kind of movement everyday.
Here are a few more ideas. Remember.... the key to self care is it should be something you enjoy doing and not feel like an obligation!
Go to the gym
Eat some veggies and/or fruit
Go for a walk
Do some stretches
Go to bed earlier!
Clean your make up brushes regularly
Blast your favorite songs and have a dance party
Declutter your space
Learn how to massage your hands and feet for stress
Put your towel or robe in the dryer before you shower and enjoy the extra warmth after
What else would you add to this list? What would bring your joy?
Emotional and Mental Self-Care
Emotional and Mental self care is about becoming more in tune with your emotions, checking in with yourself, being more mindful of your triggers and working through those triggers rather than bottling them up. It is about setting boundaries and learning how to say no when you need to without feeling guilty (this takes A LOT of practice).
This type of self care is probably one of the easiest to overlook. We are taught that we just have to have a positive outlook and "everything will be fine". Our emotional and mental health is just as important as our physical health. I heard a TED talk where the speaker was discussing emotional "first aid". He discussed how when we share we are feeling depressed or anxious we are told it's "all in our heads". He said, "Imagine telling a person who broke their leg to just get up and walk it off, after all it's all in their leg". This statement spoke volumes to me and reminded me of the importance of taking care of my emotional and mental health through self care.
Here are some ideas to help you get started on the practice of emotional/mental self care.
Slow down and just breathe. Set a timer for a few minutes, concentrate on your breathing and relax.
Set boundaries and learn to say no. Remember that for everything you say "yes" to, you are saying "no" to something else. What are you saying no to when you agree to say yes to something else? Time with your family? Extra time to practice self care? Consider this before saying yes to everything.
Feel your emotions. Emotions are real and valid. It is okay for you to feel your emotions. Try journaling to get the emotions out, dance them out and/or start practicing a daily "brain dump".
Brain dump- set a timer for 5 minutes. Take a pen and paper and just dump. Write out everything that is on your mind. Don't try to make complete sentences, don't worry about grammar or punctuation, just write. Get it all out!
Do an act of kindness. Being kind to others is powerful in learning to be kind to yourself.
Be kind to yourself. Practice the art of affirmations. Say things to yourself like "I am capable." "I can do hard things". Practice this!
Be creative. This can be through dance, playing an instrument, singing at the top of your lungs, painting or writing just to name a few things.
Talk to a professional if you need to. There is no shame in talking to a person who's job is literally to listen to you say all the things you need to say in a safe place.
What else would you add to this list?
Social self care is intentionally taking care of your social life. This may sound silly, but think about your group of friends. What do they bring into your life? My best friends bring balance, laughter, a safe place, and encouragement. Humans, by nature, are social beings. This type of self care will look different for introverts and extroverts because of their personal comfort in social situations differing.
Here is a short list of somethings you can do to practice social self care. Think about what you would add to this list.
Spend time with your friends. Obviously now during the pandemic, that might look a little different, but be intentional about making this a priority. One way to do this is to plan the next meeting before you leave the meeting you are in. My best friends and I get together once a month. Everyone brings their calendar and we plan the date for the next month right there. This way, we know we will get together and we have a plan. This may be in person, via Zoom or even Facetime, but we make it a priority.
Spend time with your family. I'm not talking about sitting around the living room and watching TV, although that can be fun, I am talking about uninterrupted time to be together, be present and talk to one another. Try the game "best of/worst of" where every person in the family tells the best part of their day and the worst part of their day. Really listen to each other and be present with each other.
Schedule and keep regular date nights with your significant other. If you can't go out, plan an at home date night where you watch a movie, cook dinner together or play a board game. If you have children, do this after they go to bed, or plan for a day date when they are at school or with a babysitter or grandparent.
Connect with others on social media. Of course, you have to be careful to make sure that you aren't comparing yourself or your life to others, but you can find some great support on these platforms. Some of my favorite connections are from Facebook groups that I am a part of, and I have never met some of these people in real life.
Reconnect with an old friend.
Make a real life, voice to voice, phone call. We get so busy we text or email each other without taking time to hear each others voices. Just a five minute voice to voice call can bring great joy!
Give compliments to random strangers. If you see something you like, tell that person! Who knows? You might just make a new friend.
Ask for help if you need it.
What else would you add to this list?
Intellectual self care includes doing something that you enjoy that nourishes and challenges your mind. Learning a new skill is an example of this type of self care. Here are a few more ideas.
Read a book. A real-life bound together paper book. This can be a novel, a book of poems, something to help you in an area of your life, or simply a book about a topic you enjoy.
Learn a new language.
Watch a documentary on a topic that you are interested in.
Do a puzzle.
Do a word search or cross word puzzle.
Research something that you have been interested in and haven't made the time to dive into yet.
Watch a TED talk.
Visit a museum.
Take a class, or go back to school.
What else would you add to this list?
In the spirit of practicing intellectual self care, watch this TED talk before moving onto the discussion board.
Take into consideration the types of self care we have discussed. Consider them while answering the following questions. Don't forget to respond to at least two other participants.
1. Which type of self care is the easiest for you to practice?
2. Which type of self care is the hardest for you to practice?
3. Which one(s) are you willing to add to your self care practice?
Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail
Without a plan, nothing gets done. If you do not intentionally plan your self care practice, it will not get done. As we have discussed in this course, a lack of self care can lead to health problems, frustration, and burn out. In order to avoid these things, you must make an intentional plan of action. In the next section of this module, you will find an essay quiz. Each question will ask you to plan for the types of self care we have discussed. As you are planning, and answering the questions, copy and paste them into a Word document or write them down so that you can work towards your goals. You will also find a document you can download and print. It is a "Self Care BINGO" game! As you do the things on the game card, place a sticker, a check mark or cross it out... see if you can get a "blackout" by the end of the school year!
I wish you well in your self care journey!
Use this quiz to plan your self care journey. Copy and paste your answers into a Word document or write them down so that you can reach your goals. :)
This Post-test is an graded assessment, with 5 questions. The sole purpose of this post test is for you to test your knowledge about self care for educators in early education after completing the training.
After the Post-Test, we would greatly appreciate your feedback.
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The Green Space Online Learning Team
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