Monday, March 23, 2020

Self Care During COVID19

Last week, I posted about some of the things my library is doing to serve our patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week I felt a great deal of panic. Our buildings were shuttered suddenly and we had never approached switching to an all-virtual model before. There was lots of figuring-out-of-things and I felt like it all had to happen yesterday so that our patrons knew that we want to help them and that we're here during this crisis.

I can't live long term at the stress level I put on myself last week, so here are a few things I have already learned in the brief time I've been working from home:

This is a photo of the solitary daffodil that grows in my garden.

Being accessible doesn't mean you personally being accessible 24/7. When our buildings are open as normal, we have regular hours. Some services are available 24/7 (like access to our databases), some services are available only during open hours (like resolving expired library cards). It's okay to continue that when we are serving our patrons virtually. No one is demanding that we answer their question immediately at every hour of the day. Do what is reasonable. Check as often as is reasonable and turn it off for the night at some point.

Take breaks, drink water, get outside. The first few days I was working on so much all at once that I was skipping some activities I need to keep me healthy and happy. Take a breath. It'll all get done. I need to get outside for a bit when the weather allows. It's okay to be a bit flexible with my at-home work schedule so that I can de-stress myself.

Keep in touch with colleagues. It feels like we're each working in a vacuum, I know, but connecting with my colleagues via text, email, or Facebook messenger has helped. I don't feel the need to micromanage, but I do feel the need to know that I'm not alone and to let my colleagues know they're not alone. I need folks to brainstorm with, to bounce ideas off of. And we can still have that even if we're not in the same building. I know this is going to become more and more important as we need to brainstorm additional innovative ways to reach our patrons in the coming weeks.

Work wherever works for you. We don't all have a home office (I don't, really). My husband's working from home, too. He's camped out in the basement, I set myself up in my armchair in my library. Set up a desk if that works for you, but if working on the couch with the TV in the background or in bed with your laptop works for you, do what you need to do.

Keep informed, but turn the news off every now and then. This speaks for itself. I've noticed that Facebook has been flagging some posts that have misinformation, which I think is really great.

FaceTime or video chat with family and friends. I miss my parents and my nieces so much! But it helps to connect with them and see their faces and talk to them every now and then.

Make some time for reading! With so much screen time each day and so much frantic activity, it's been hard to get my brain to focus and let me read some books. I need this! I am trying to take breaks from my phone and read each night.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?