As a dayhome provider, taking care of our mental health is equally as important as taking care of our physical health. If we go too long without stopping to recognize where we might be struggling, we can be putting ourselves and our dayhome children at risk.
In this weeks blog, we’ll go over some tell tale signs that you might be experiencing a mental health challenge and how to find resources and support to help you navigate out of it.
After 2 long years, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be nearing it’s end and Alberta is moving towards a new post-pandemic normal. But how has your mental health faired through it all?
Many dayhome providers have experienced heightened mental health challenges due to the pandemic and the added expectations and pressures that have come with operating a child care program during a global health crisis.
That’s why today we want to spend some time talking about mental health and ensuring that as providers we all have the tools and resources available to us when we find ourselves needing that extra support.
How do we know when we are struggling with our mental health? What signs and symptoms might be present? If you are feeling any of the signs and symptoms below, there is a possibility that you may be experiencing a mental health challenge and it’s time to reach out for extra support.
Often times a mental health challenge is something that happens without our control and there is little we can do to stop it. Other times there are certain triggers or situations that can contribute negatively towards our mental health and well being and over time can lead to a mental health challenge. Understanding these triggers is a critical part of taking care of ourselves before things get out of control. Think back to a time that you have felt one of the above signs and see if any of the following triggers or situations came before it.
If you are or have repeatedly experienced some of the above physical, environmental, and situational triggers above – it’s possible that you already have or will experience burnout at some point in your dayhome career. Burnout can occur when we pile on too many triggers and not enough support or resources to effectively manage them.
Having an action plan in place that we can follow when we find we have been experiencing increased triggers can help us stay on top of our mental health and well-being. Here are some steps to follow to create your own personal action plan.
When you begin to recognize a decline in your mental health – begin at Step 1 of your action plan. If you don’t find relief from that step, move on to the next until you feel you are no longer at risk.
Depending on the severity of what you are feeling, some of the beginning steps should be skipped completely and you should take immediate steps to seek help and support from professionals.
Self care looks different for everyone. What someone considers self-care for themselves could be a trigger for someone else. Take some time to think about what self care looks like for you and write some ideas down. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Talk about what you’re experiencing with a trusted personal acquaintance (spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc.). Talking about how we are struggling can often lift a weight off our shoulders when we realize we aren’t alone. Try reaching out to the dayhome community within the Alberta Private Dayhome Support Network Facebook Group (you can even post anonymously).
If you’ve worked through steps 1 and 2 and you haven’t found relief it might be time to talk with a professional counsellor, or therapist to learn some coping strategies.
If you aren’t able to access a crisis centre and you are experiencing suicidal or self harming thoughts, please reach out to someone.
You are not alone.
The Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 is available 24/7.
If you have exhausted all options for resources and support and you are still experiencing a mental health crisis, call 911.
Experiencing a mental health challenge is nothing to be ashamed of and no provider should have to experience these things alone. It’s also important to know that it does not make you a bad provider. However, it is important to understand that sometimes we might need to take a break to focus on getting healthy so that we can ensure that ourselves and our dayhome children stay safe.
You may feel like you are letting your dayhome families down if you need to step away from dayhome for a time to manage your self care and mental health but having an honest conversation with your dayhome families can help them understand where you’re coming from.
At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you and your dayhome children. Your mental health is more important than disappointing others.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re struggling,
Check out these helpful mental health resources below.
Reflect and respond to today’s blog post by grabbing our Mental Health Action Plan Printable to help you create your Mental Health Action Plan.
Determine your triggers, define your signs, strategize ways to cope and research your local crisis resources.
You can keep this action plan in your dayhome binder so that it’s on hand if you need it.
Learn more about caregiver burnout and how to beat it inside our CAREGIVER BURNOUT GUIDEBOOK.
This guidebook was developed from an informative session we hosted with the Burnout Queen – Janice Wehran.
This guidebook is available to all members inside the Embolden PDC Portal.
We have a variety of helpful resources and links inside the Embolden PDC Portal.