Are you on your check list?

Lately, it just seems as if life is moving so fast. It’s the end of the school year. Kids are taking tests. Schools are hosting end of the year concerts and taking field trips to local parks. There is so much to get done and so very little time to do it all. I don’t know how to get all of the things done that need to be done. I am overwhelmed. I am also task oriented, so I knew it was time for a check list.

One of the items on my check list was to attend a retreat with my colleagues titled Searching for Your Heart of Gold. When I first arrived at the retreat, I had a laundry list of things that I could be getting done racing through my head. Breakfast was served and still, all I could think about was pushing forward to the next big thing so that I could hurry even faster to something else. Finally the speaker arrived and she gave an assignment to complete: define who we are. I was so grateful to have something to do so I could push forward to what’s next that I was quick to get started. But I realized that rushing through her assignment wouldn’t do me any good. I took a deep breath and slowly began to open myself up to the activity of defining who I am.

Are you on your check list? The importance of self-care for early childhood educators.

We couldn’t define ourselves by the roles that we have like being a mom or our jobs. Rather we had to define what characteristics make us unique, what qualities feed our souls. I’ll be very honest, it was so hard to do. It took me many moments to define me and remember what feeds my soul. It’s something that is still on my mind, how can I take care of myself when I am losing myself in the day-to-day checklists I keep creating.

After the speaker finished and we had time for lunch and reflection, I took a walk around the space we were in. The sun was shining and I literally took time to slow down and think about the things that make me, me. I am creative. I am faithful. I am observant. I am kind. I am reflective. I am a thinker. I am a reader. I am passionate. I am a planner. I am a worrier. I am loyal.

I realized that in creating my check lists, I wasn’t part of the list. Everyone and everything else was on my list, but I was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t nurturing my soul so that I could continue to be the best me I can be!

In the field of early childhood, there are so many check lists that need to be taken care of, observations that need to be written, toys that need to be cleaned and rotated, parents that need to be greeted, children needing lunch, tables needing to be cleaned and sanitized. I could go on. My hope for all of us professionals in the field of early childhood is that we take time to add ourselves to our check lists. Take time to care for yourself so that you can continue to be rejuvenated and refreshed in the work you do each day.

– Angie