By Emma Thomas

We all know that ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. And working in early childhood we give, give, give. We give of ourselves to our children, their families and our workplaces. Working in Early Childhood Education and Care can be a challenging job and we need to take care of ourselves! But how do we do this? And what practical steps can we take?

Our self care shouldn’t just be left for evenings and weekends – there is plenty we can do to support our mental health in the workplace. 


Find a workplace that respects your boundaries and cares about your life outside of work. You are not a machine or a number. You want to be in a workplace that values your unique contribution and supports your needs. 

Give support, receive support  

Be the sort of person who is flexible and able to support the other educators around you. Then when you need help, ask for and accept it! No one will know that you are struggling if you don’t reach out. Try to be clear about what you need. 

Have fun!

Make sure to plan things you enjoy doing each day while caring for and educating children. Maybe you could incorporate yoga into the routine, throw a dance party or spend some time sitting in the sun reading to a small group. 

Find your why

Understanding why we do what we do is hugely beneficial to our mental health. Look into Simon Sinek’s work ( and find your own why. There are always going to be stressors within our jobs but being grounded in our purpose helps overcome these. 

It is ok to not be ok. 

It happens to us all and you are not alone, even though it may feel like it sometimes. It is so important to acknowledge when you are not ok

Identify (if you can) 

  • why you are feeling the way you are feeling


  • what can I do right now that will help
  • what do I need to plan for to help long term
  • who do I need to talk to


  • What can I do 


  • What you can control and what you can’t control