As educators at Durham’s Partnership for Children, we understand the tremendous workload that comes with being an early childhood teacher. Daily pressures can adversely affect our physical and mental well-being, impacting blood pressure, immune function, and mental health. To counter these challenges, self-care, particularly through mindfulness strategies, has proven to be a valuable tool.
Breathing Deeply and Slowly: Mindful deep and slow breathing is a powerful signal to the brain that fosters relaxation and calm. By consciously inhaling on odd numbers and exhaling on even visualizing a gradual filling and releasing of the lungs, educators can reduce stress levels and regain emotional balance.
Inviting Emotions – “I see you.”: Acknowledging and accepting emotions with compassion allows educators to be present with their feelings during challenging moments. By labeling emotions without judgment and granting oneself permission to feel, educators can develop greater self-awareness, clarity, and problem-solving insights.
Releasing Emotions – The Letting Go Box: Sometimes, holding on to negative emotions can be counterproductive. DPC educators are encouraged to employ the Letting Go Box exercise, where they visualize or use an actual box to release troubling emotions. This practice allows for distance from unhelpful emotions and fosters a sense of relief and gratitude.
Welcoming and Expressing Gratitude: Practicing gratitude is a transformative approach to shifting perspectives and managing stress. Educators are encouraged to close their eyes, connect with feelings of love and appreciation, and immerse themselves in those emotions. Through the act of giving thanks, they cultivate a positive mindset and enhanced well-being.
At Durham’s Partnership for Children, we firmly believe that emotional management and mindfulness are essential life skills for early childhood educators. By taking care of themselves with thoughtfulness and compassion, educators are better equipped to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for the children they serve. Through the incorporation of mindfulness strategies into our programs, we empower educators to embrace their own well-being, leading to enhanced effectiveness in their classrooms and communities.