I know you’re feeling weary right now, I know it’s only a couple of weeks into the new term and you are already feeling worn out and depleted. This is a note to anyone working with children in any role, whatever age, whatever stage, a reminder that you matter too and you must remember to take care of yourself in the same way you have been taking care of others.
The first few weeks at the start of the year are tough, you will have been working so hard to ensure the children in your care are settling in, your planning is spot on, your environment is Facebook photo worthy, parents are happy, senior leaders and management are happy. Have you stopped to think, are you happy? You’ve probably be planning and organising for weeks even before the children arrived! You are taking on and absorbing everyone else’s needs, wants and requirements, so much so, that maybe you’re feeling tearful, exhausted but can’t sleep, irritable and maybe even feel like you have so much to do, you’re failing already.
Stop. You are doing an amazing job, but nothing matters more than your health. Nothing. It’s ok to say, I can’t do it all today. It’s ok to finish work on time and take some time for you and it’s how you take your power back! Your body needs fuel, the boring things, eating well, making time for a proper breakfast and lunch, drinking water. Your body needs exercise, fresh air, a gentle walk, or something more active. Your body needs rest, less screen time, proper breaks, downtime after work and a good nights sleep. Whilst you need these things to be physically healthy, you also need all of these things to be mentally healthy too.
So go and find or treat yourself to that shiny new note pad that you and write down your every day self-care routine for when you’re feeling like you have everything under control. Then, write another self-care routine for when you’re feeling worn out and stressed! It’s a reminder that will need but won’t think of when you’re having a wobbly day. It’s a note to yourself, that is more important than all of the things you do for other people because it’s about taking care of you! It’s a gentle reminder to be kinder to yourself. You can’t be all the things to all the people and not take care of yourself.