A healthy, safe and well early childhood workforce is essential to delivering quality early learning and care. Services can support teacher, educator and staff wellbeing by providing information on the signs of stress and burnout, strategies to respond early to these signs, self care and identifying when to ask for help.
Your wellbeing as an educator is essential to quality teaching.
It is important to acknowledge and recognise that the situation causing disrupted service delivery is creating uncertainty for you, other service staff, children, families and the wider community.
Once you acknowledge this, you can work with others who are also experiencing the same things.
Sharing your emotions and experiences can help you feel less overwhelmed or isolated.
It is important to identify if you need extra support to help you through this time.
For reflection: How do you identify when you've reached your stress limit or are burnt out?
Signs of stress and burnout
In times of extended stress it is normal to have negative feelings and feel burnt out.
Signs of stress and burnout can include tiredness and exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm or increased negativity towards your job and a decreased ability to perform your work.
Some of the feelings that come with stress or burnout are frustration and anger, irritability or annoyance, anxiety, agitation or restlessness.
Sometimes there are physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach issues or body pains.
- What are some strategies you have used in the past to help you cope with stress?
- How can you implement these in your workplace and share them with your co-workers?
Self care that can help
Self care is important to alleviate the symptoms of stress and burnout.
Suggestions for improving your wellbeing include going for a walk, eating healthy food and minimising your intake of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
Talking to others about how you feel is a great way to share your feelings and support other people you care about.
Looking after each other is important in times of extended stress.
Talk to a friend, co-worker, supervisor or family member about how you are feeling and listen to how they are feeling too.
Mindfulness is an effective way to help focus your mind on what is happening in the current moment, and help regulate unhelpful thoughts (see below links in the Resources section for more information).
Know when to seek professional support
If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is a good idea to ask for more help.
Your doctor is a great place to start or your service may have an employee assistance program.
It is important to ask for help because sometimes we can quickly go from managing to overwhelmed.