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Self-care Isn’t Selfish

Last month, my fellow Managing Children’s Services Committee member, Rachel Fryd, wrote a great blog post called Making Your Schedule Work for You, including some very helpful tips on how to make the most of your time at work. Her post got me thinking a lot about how busy the life of a Youth Services Librarian/Teen Librarian/Children’s Librarian/Youth Services Manager/etc. is and how stressful it can be. With summer reading arriving before we know it, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your next busy season:

  1. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish. Librarianship attracts wonderful people who are often very good at taking care of everyone else but are notorious for putting themselves last. We all need to remind ourselves from time to time that taking care of ourselves and putting ourselves first isn’t selfish. It helps us be our best for everyone else. If we’re tired and worn out, we don’t have as much to give, and what we do have isn’t our best quality. Still not convinced? Check out some of these TED Talks on self-care.
  2. Don’t be afraid to delegate. Are you working through your lunches? Bringing work home at night? Maybe it’s time to look at your workload and evaluate what could be delegated to other staff members or even volunteers.
  3. Come up with a stress management plan. Even with the best laid plans and delegation, sometimes there is just too much work to do and too little time. For those stressful days, weeks, and even months, having a stress management plan in place can make a big difference. Many sample plans can be found online — the important thing is that you find something that speaks to you and matches your wellness goals.
  4. Support others around you by being a good role model. It’s easy to get into the habit of complaining with everyone in the office about how much work you have to get done or how many extra hours you put in that week. Instead of joining in next time, share your self-care successes with your co-workers or employees to support and encourage their own healthy choices.

My self-care journey is definitely still a work in progress, but I’m committed to finding the best work-life balance possible. Not only do I deserve it, but my staff and the community I serve deserve the very best I can give them! For more tips and thoughts from your ALSC colleagues, check out the upcoming webinars from the members of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee, with topics like Communication, Scheduling, Managing Financials, and Supervising: www.ala.org/alsc/edcareeers/profdevelopment/alscweb/webinars.

Krissy Wick is the Youth Services Supervisor for the Madison (WI) Public Library. She is currently a member of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee and is the chair-elect for Wisconsin’s Children’s Book Award Committee. She is a mother of four boys (including one-year-old identical twins), so stress management is a topic especially near and dear to her heart.

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