Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Self-care Guide During COVID

Man wearing glasses and yellow shirt with hands in namaste pose

Self-care During Covid

Self-care During COVID is critical. Through daily practice, you can help relax your body, increase mental focus and keep things in perspective. COVID and our efforts to keep safe can create stress and strain. Enjoy this handy guide, specifically designed for librarians for getting the most joy out of your every day.

The Librarian’s Breath

Who you are as a librarian is reflected by your breath. In addition to a refreshing breath mint, try the following three steps:

Beginner’s Program

Shelving picture books requires a complete lateral stretch.Note how the shelver forms a triangle. To the casual shelver, this pose may feel intense, but does become easier after above three carts of shelving.

Shelving Adultdvdsana involves inhaling, and stretching your hand up. Hold the breath while you check that your item is entering the correct shelf position. Exhale and slide your hand down back to the shelving cart. Repeat until cart is empty.

This posture gets its name from a common shelving situation. The shelver is diagonally aligned when a patron approaches. Beginners should use this opportunity to utilize a kick stool to support themselves as they answer an impromptu directional question. Advanced shelvers enjoy greater strength and stability in calves, thighs, ankles, and knees.

When searching for picture books, the shelver should utilize the first rendition of this pose. Board book seekers should utilize the second rendition (see below).

Exhale in frustration and fold yourself forward. Feel the blood rushing to your head and the pronounced strain in you neck. Press into the floor and feel your elbows wobbling with the strain. Looking up is essential as you risk missing the item you are looking for.

Exhale at the ridiculously low shelving. Rest your head on the floor if necessary. Use this moment as a chance to relax your shoulders, neck and head. Hold until your find your item.

Shelver Pose

Breaking from the standing poses, we move into the seated. While this pose may seem like an ending, it is actually a new beginning. Use this position to prepare the body for more complex seated poses.

Seated Forward Bend

You feel from your head to your heels a certain awaking in the spine and central nervous system whenever the internet is slow or network outage. Utilize this pose to reinvigorate your brain and calm your kidneys. Encourage patrons and staff alike to attempt this pose.

One Leg Seated Forward Bend

We’ve all done it. Getting your foot stuck under low shelves or an a/v cart can initially be embarrassing. Use this as an opportunity to loosen your hamstring, and increase the flexibility in your hips. This is an ideal pose for the more sedentary librarian, so mayhap you could “accidentally” enter into this pose regularly.

Seated Spinal Twist

This posture is named after the situation we frequently encounter whilst shelving picture books. The masters of shelving can rotate their spine utilizing this pose, and attend to patrons simultaneously. The annoyance of interruption is relieved with this pose, nourishing and re-aligning the spine.

Cobra Pose

This graceful pose is an excellent counterpart to the extended foot pose (as above). If you are already on the floor anyway, why not use this pose to not only find that still-missing item, but also correct any misalignments in your spine?

Intermediate Program

Preparing for the exertions of the day means getting into the right frame of mind. Utilize Customer Service pose to aid in synchronizing your heart, breath and compassion for the clueless.

Extended Puppet Pose (2)

Youth Services librarians utilize this lateral stretch to deepen their programming. This posture tones muscles, legs and strengthens puppet shows.

Keep your eyes on the puppet as this aids in delivery of the show itself.

Tree Pose (2)

Be unperturbed by the patron that steps on your foot. Be as the tree, and maintain your dignity.

Seated Spinal Twist (2)

This posture is named for the greeting we give when conducting seated shelving. It is a progression from the seated spinal twist (1). Through this pose you stimulate not only your nervous system but also that of the patron. You transmit your positive energy and brighten the room with your chi.

Alternate Nostril Blowing

This more advanced pose is an extension of ideal hygiene and for many of our younger patrons, requires some practice to master. The energy that flows from the nostrils during the outflow of air must be channeled and ultimately captured. Encourage patrons to unite the two halves of their brains and thereby decrease the flow of negative air in the atmosphere.


In order to achieve your ultimate goal – retirement – you must become immune to the distractions around you. Gazing blankly at a malfunctioning piece of technology improves eyesight, and cleanses dust and other pollutants from the eyes. Pushing the tear ducts to release, you are now progressing to the seventh limb of librarianship: stuff they never taught us in school.

But seriously, folks

Enhance your life through exercise in whatever form that fits you and your lifestyle. You will definitely be better able to deal with everyday stresses, sleep better and overall, get more out of life.

Enjoy, be safe and be well.

Photos courtesy of Tristan VanCise


  1. Elise

    Love it! I will be adding Librarian Yoga to my fitness regime 🙂

    1. Jonathan Dolce

      As you should! ; ))

  2. Liza Purdy

    This is my favorite ALSC post ever. Thank you for the laugh this Monday morning!

    1. Jonathan Dolce

      That’s so sweet! Thank you so much! — Jonathan

    2. Jonathan Dolce

      Are you the same Liza Purdy who has pet worms at the library? If so, how are they all doing?!

    3. Jonathan Dolce

      Oh! Have you ever done the action song “Walter the Waltzing Worm”?

  3. Elizabeth M. Timmins

    This is absolutely wonderful! I have been saying for years that we all do YOGA at work!

    1. Jonathan Dolce

      Glad you like the post — had a ton of fun making it! — Jonathan

  4. Margee

    Love it!! You never cease to amaze 🙂

  5. Laura M. Bogart

    This is the best! Oh hey, I have the same weird power strip.

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