Compassion fatigue has been defined as the “cost of caring” for others who are in, or have been experiencing, emotional pain. As a professional attuned to the complex lives of children and families, your senses and efforts are continuously taxed—especially in today’s world. Compassion fatigue exacts a high price, and it is real. Considering all you have learned in this course coupled with your integral role in partnering with families and working with children, self-care is not a question of why, but how. In the words of author Eleanor Brown: “Your self-care efforts are not selfish. We cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Considering the resources and your personal/professional experiences, how do you define self-care, and why do you believe self-care for early childhood professionals is so important? – What are some of the barriers that make it hard to make time for self-care? – Describe some possible sources of stress and trauma early childhood professionals experience inside and outside of work – Describe some of the symptoms as well as consequences of secondary trauma? Compassion fatigue? – Take time to consider whether you received any verbal and nonverbal messages as you were growing up about caring for yourself, and if so, what were they? If you choose, share these messages, and how they might have been related to your cultural/familial values and expectations?