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3 Mindfulness Resources for Resilience and Quick Self-Care

Sep 22, 2022    |   Educator Self-Care

As early learning and care providers, it is critical that we take care of ourselves so that we can be fully present and engaged with the little ones in our care. However, in the busyness of our days as caregivers, it can be hard to find time for self-care practices that work for us. In this article, we share a few quick and easy self-care resources that can easily fit into your schedule so that you can show up as your best self for the work that you do with young children.

Hand-On-Heart Supportive Touch 

Kristin Neff, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, recommends a quick mindfulness exercise that you can do throughout your day, while you are driving to work, washing dishes, tidying up, or even while you are interacting with children: 

  • When you notice you’re under stress, take 2-3 deep, satisfying breaths. 

  • Gently place one or both of your hands over your heart, feeling the gentle pressure and warmth of your hand. 

  • Feel the touch of your hand on your chest. Feel the natural rising and falling of your chest as you breathe in and as you breathe out.

You can see Dr. Neff’s TED Talk, and find more self-compassion practices on this website.

Grounding Reset

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of Therapy for Black Girls explains the “54321” grounding technique that can be used whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and want to quickly re-connect with the present moment: 

  • Observe your environment and describe to yourself…

    • five things that you can see (a clock on the wall, gray carpeting on the floor),

    • four things you can feel (the fabric of your clothes, the chair beneath you),

    • three things you can hear (children playing outside, cars passing outside the window),

    • two things you can smell (your hand lotion, your coffee), and

    • one thing you can taste (a sip of water).

Brief Body Scan

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center recommends a quick body scan to relax each body part, helping you to release tension and calm your mind. This practice can be used anytime, from the start of your workday, during lunch, before meeting with parents, or during stressful moments throughout the day:

  • Begin by bringing your attention into your body. You can close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you.

  • Notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor. Take a few deep breaths.

  • As you breathe, bring in oxygen to enliven the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.

  • Notice…

    • your feet on the floor; the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.

    • your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.

    • your back against the chair.

  • Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath. 

  • Notice…

    • your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to soften.

    • your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.

    • your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax. Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.

    • your whole body, present. 

  • Take one more breath. Be aware of your whole body as best as you can. Take a breath. And then when you’re ready, open your eyes. 

If you would prefer to listen to this meditation, you can click here to listen to the audio recording.

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