Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Self Care during Closure

To echo Emily’s post yesterday, this is a weird time to work in libraries and to be a person in this world.

I had never imagined that the library would close. It seemed too otherwordly to not have an open library that was unrelated to a renovation or damage or a snow day. However, here we are.

I worked the last weekend that we were open, and it was a weird and wonderful weekend to be at the library. We were buzzing with people grabbing all the books available. We extended our normal checkout limits for books, and let the public really splurge on books. I did so much reader’s advisory for frazzled parents and eager to be out of school kids, and everyone was so jazzed about the opportunity to read!

I quickly made displays of easy to grab displays— Funny Picture Books, Questions? Answers (Nonfiction picture books), and Recently Returned books. I instructed my staff to bring out all the to be shelved books from the workrooms and leave them on the floor like extra shelving. People wanted everything we had.

People also wanted to check in on the staff– would we be getting paid? Would we have to come in? Our patrons were wonderfully invested and interested in the staff as real people. For such a chaotic moment, it was really nice. I felt appreciated and seen as a public servant.

That being said. We are all struggling to find normalcy in this new frontier. I have no real answers. I only can offer what I have been trying to do to stay sane in this process. Disclaimer- I am not a schedule type of person, so instead of looking for a regime, I have been focused on the 6 categories below:

Self Care Schedule

  • HealthBody: While, I may be spending most days in pajamas or sweat pants- I do see the merit in making sure to move my body around. Try to do something slightly physical. From a lofty aim of going for a walk or doing an online exercise class to just stretching your body a bit, anything can help you keep your body going.
  • HealthMind: It’s also important that your brain gets a workout as well. It’s too tempting to just continually watch Monk or Nightmare Next Door or Parks and Recreation or whatever shows you may be binging. I try to pick activities like reading (finally going through some ARCs from Midwinter), working on a puzzle, playing a game, or whatever gives your mind some thinking.
  • Creative- Ah, creative projects. If you bought into the adult coloring craze, or maybe you were gifted a million of them like I was, you have some coloring supplies. Long before the craze hit- I had always stockpiled cartoon coloring books and crayons to stress relief, a leftover break from college finals. But, there are millions of creative things that I have always wanted to do– like finish the novel that I started a decade ago or paint. This is a chance to dust off those old projects and reconnect with your creative self.
  • Clean– Let’s face it whether you live in a big house or small apartment, there is always some task that seems like there is no time for. For me, it’s been things like finally unpacking bathroom supplies from my move three months ago, and constantly cleaning out the sink. But, if I have learned anything as an adult, it’s that there is no magical cleaning fairy that makes house calls. If I want things to be clean, I have to find some time to do it.
  • Social- This is probably the most important thing! It’s nice to see a friendly face! I do like to sit on the couch and people watch outside and see that life is continuing, but it’s not the same as talking to someone you care for and love. I am an extrovert, but lots of phone calls drain me. It’s been a challenge that I wasn’t expecting. But, I know the benefit of still connecting with others is important, and I need to make time for it.
  • Work– For some this part might make up a bigger part of their day. My workplace just asks me to check in on emails and calls each day, and there is usually some work that I like to do from the comfort of my couch. I have a long list of Library Bucket List ideas and this might be time to check in on some of them. Or just catch up with the endless paperwork.

I marked these on a whiteboard (shown above) that I used to use to plan my meals and outfits for the week, but now I am repurposing it to keep me clued into what I was doing during my week. If I am looking for something to do, I can check in on my self-care board and see what I need to check in on.

What techniques are you using to care for yourself during this time? Share below!

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