What is self-care?

Many people think self-care is just for afluent people who can afford the goods and services that get marketed to them as self-care.  But self-care is for more than just people with money or women in general.  This is why the portrayal of self-care is backwards- it’s characterized as an indulgence. Spa appointments, expensive bath products, and luxurious chocolates are not all self-care items.  So, what is self-care?  Let’s define it.

Self-care is not an indulgence.  According to Tami Forman, author of many Forbes magazine articles, self-care can be defined as, “a discipline.”  Forman says, “It requires tough mindness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a respect for both yourself and the people you choose to spend your life with.”


Why you shouldn’t neglect Self-Care

For some people, they either don’t make the time for self-care or they either don’t think it is necessary.  But that may be because they don’t actually understand what it means.  As stated before, it doesn’t mean getting weekly massages or buying yourself whatever you want and spending all of your money.  It’s a lot more basic. 

Self-care can be about just brushing your teeth in the morning and flossing each day.  Self-care and its first cousin self-help are about being in tune with what your body needs to function optimally.  In the same way, you wouldn’t ignore the oil light in your car, you wouldn’t ignore the cues your body is sending you.



Top 5 ways to practice self-care:

  1.  Get the sleep you need.  Preschool teachers especially need the rest they need because many of them have to be up before 6 a.m.  Although this isn’t the same for everyone, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours.
  2. Eat healthy.  There is a strong food-mood connection.  In fact, there is even a whole branch of psychiatry devoted to nutrition.  Some of the best mood boosting foods include:  ginger, turmeric, fish, chia, flax, berries, and green tea.
  3. Meditate.  Meditation helps build mental resiliency and can help to manage anxiety.
  4. Take in nature.  Research shows that visits to forests, rural areas, and other green spaces can improve thinking and reduce stress.
  5. Check out a good book.  People who are open to new experiences literally see the world differently research shows and what better way to do this than by exploring a new book.


How to create your own self-care journal

Now that we have learned about all of these self-care techniques, it is time to create our very own self-care journal.  The following is an example self-care journal that you can create: 


My Self-Care Journal

1. Identify ten top self-care strategies that I can use

2. Circle which of the following wrods that best represent how you feel:

              I have a healthy / unhealthy self-esteem.  I have a good / poor self-image.

3. List three ways I can increase my self-esteem

4.  List 3 things that my self-esteem is derived from

5. Find 3 things I do that make me feel good about myself

6. Identify 3 things that help me recognize that I am burnt out teaching

7. Find 3 self-care things I can do to help me avoid burn out

8. Identify 2 ways my director can help me avoid burn out

9. Draw a picture of yourself meditating

10. Take an art break:  Draw and color a picture of your day care center

11. List your top 3 favorite genres of music

12. Write out a Mindfulness Meditation and practice it


For more information about self-care, try our online class, Caring For Yourself: Why Self-care is so Important or any of our other 200+ childcare training courses, all accessible from the safety and convenience of your laptop, tablet or phone. 


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