A printable resource from ZERO TO THREE shares a quick and easy trick educators can adopt to incorporate mindfulness into their work. Caring for young children can be stressful, from teaching to nurturing to preparing meals and changing diapers, ECE professionals do incredibly important work. However, the work involves multitasking, working long hours, and navigating relationships, all of which can be difficult and can create stress.
The STOP Strategy
This printable handout shares the STOP strategy, a quick mindfulness practice that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine to help manage the stressors that come along with working in early childhood education.
STOP is an acronym that stands for stop, take a breath, observe, and proceed. Here’s how it works: picture yourself in a moment of heightened stress, such as putting children down for naps. When you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed, try the following:
Stop. Pause and focus on what is happening.
Take a deep breath in and out. Notice your breath and how it feels to breathe.
Observe. Acknowledge what is happening, positive or negative, inside you or outside. Try your best to let go of judgment and simply note what is happening, and how you are feeling.
Proceed. Once you have given yourself the space to think about the way you want to respond, move forward and try to respond with compassion, patience, and nonjudgement.
After you have completed this exercise, you might still have feelings of frustration or stress – and that’s okay! The point of the exercise is not to avoid stress. Instead, the goal is to help to give yourself a moment to process your reaction to the stress to ensure that you respond thoughtfully and intentionally.
Click here to find the downloadable resource and to learn more about this practice.