It’s a privilege to work with children. It can be great fun and is such a caring environment to work in, but of course it also brings huge responsibilities. Combined with long working hours (to accommodate working parents) and a sector where continuous study, training and development is essential to providing expert care, it can be challenging for childcare professionals to find the time to focus on their own happiness and wellbeing.
Sadly it’s not surprising to see reports, such as this in Nursery World, stating that “One in four early years workers are considering leaving the sector due to stress and mental health problems”. And this is something I’m very clear on: I don’t want this to be our team!
So we challenged our team to think about ways to support one another, boost wellbeing and focus a little more on ourselves. One of the ideas that we came up with sounded deceptively simple: to walk more!
“These boots were made for walking”: Taking steps in the right direction
- Small changes = BIG differences
You can start small with walking: Get off the bus one stop earlier or park at the farthest end of the car park. Set your own pace, time or distances, and start to build at a level that works for you.
- It’s flexible
Sure – we’d all love to smash the recommended target of 10,000 steps per day, but sometimes it just isn’t that easy to find the time. Walking can be done whenever, wherever. Every single step is a step in the right direction!
- It’s FREE
It’s not just great for anyone who’s time-poor, but for anyone living on a tight budget the cost of a month gym membership isn’t always an option. You don’t need expensive kit
- Good for mind AND body
Research has found time and time again that walking and other forms of exercise can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
“I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…”
Last month, 17 members of our nursery team made a commitment to get walking more by signed up for Race at Your Pace – a virtual challenge where you can commit to walking (or running, cycling etc) a certain length over the coming month. Our team chose our own distances – either 25 or 50 miles – and then kept track of how far we walked throughout the month, fitting walking activities around work, home and the array of commitments that we all face!
On Easter Saturday, a group of us walked the 10 miles from Hebden Bridge, along the canal back to Eureka! together, giving us a chance to stroll, chat as a team and be close to nature.