Nannies, Residential and Private Childcare Staff so often prioritise the well-being needs of others before their own. It’s not surprising – it’s the nature of the job! But forgetting or neglecting to focus on your own emotional and physical health will mean that further down the line you are unable to give 100% percent to your employing family, and you may even find yourself resenting a job you once loved.
Nannies and Childcare Staff often work long and erratic hours, without adult company, and sometimes in complete isolation. Couple these challenges with the physically demanding nature of the roles and it is unsurprising that feelings of burnout can start to creep in. It might be feelings of anxiety, disturbed sleep, an inability to relax, loss of concentration, or excessive tiredness…however it manifests, it is likely to be damaging to you, and to your employing family.
The saying is ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ so in this article we’ll explore some of the ways that you can maintain positive emotional and physical health, and avoid burnout.
1. Practise Self Care
Self care doesn’t have to be expensive, and it should never be thought of as selfish.
- This could be something you find relaxing – enjoying a bubble bath, getting a massage, or unplugging from screens for the evening
- It could be creative – you may regularly do craft activities with your families but allowing your own creative juices to flow can be incredibly rewarding too, and will result in a feeling of accomplishment, boosting your morale and self esteem
- It could be active – participating in a sport, trying a new exercise class, or simply going for a walk outside
2. Make Time for Exercise
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. You’re most likely to stick with something you enjoy doing. This might be a dance class, a brisk walk in the countryside, or a swim. There are lots of options and you can have fun trying new things until you find the one for you. Regular exercise has emotional benefits – clearing the head and reducing stress, and if you enjoy being in a group can also be a great way to socialise and make friends.
3. Eat Well to Feel Well
Irregular hours can make it harder to choose foods that are nutritious and make you feel energised and well. Dedicating some time to plan and prep can help here. Batch cooking, and pre-preparing vegetables for snacks might help you swerve the temptation to get a takeaway or ready meal after a long day. There is nothing wrong with these options on an occasional basis, but focusing primarily on food that is nutrient rich and makes you feel good will always be beneficial.
4. Prioritise Sleep
Sleep is when our body recovers from the stresses and strains placed on it daily, and quality sleep also strengthens the immune system so you are less likely to get sick. Individuals that get an adequate amount of sleep are likely to have stable moods throughout the day and it goes without saying that this is important for those in a position of caring for others.
Nannies and Childcare Staff’s very job descriptions are to take care of other people. But if you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of others – it becomes impossible.
Enjoy your time off, use it for self care, and be sure to fill your cup!