Every so often I hit a wall. I look at how much I have to weed, or I think about the reports I need to prepare for the Trustees. Maybe I feel a bit beaten down having gotten the “How clueless can you be?” eye roll from a 7th grader. Maybe the brand new copy of a popular new book has mysteriously disappeared from a display, or a teacher is dissatisfied with all 35 of the Greek mythology books in the collection.
Experience tells me this will pass. I believe most school library folks are naturally helpful people, drawn to a job they know includes a lot of human contact. When I give myself a pep talk, here are some things that can coax my usually cheerful and optimistic outlook back to the forefront.
1. Remember: Friday is Coming
Sometimes I am just plain tired. Shorting ourselves on sleep not only saps daily energy, but too little sleep can weaken your immune system, upset the smooth function of your metabolism, and cause moodiness and irritability. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t give all to their job — sometimes stepping back to find balance is important.
2. Have a Some Caffeine
This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Caffeine’s bad rap is a thing of the past, according to current research. The 2015-2020 USDA dietary guidelines are OK with 3-5 cups (8 oz each) of coffee each day. I keep a few K-cups in my desk, for the faculty workroom Keurig machine. A shot of java can work wonders. If you aren’t a caffeine fan, leaving the library to get a glass of ice water or a decaf drink can give you a fresh outlook.
3. Take a Movement Break
Walk through the building, or stroll outdoors if you prefer. I love the adjustable height desk device on the countertop where I work. Before committing to the purchase, I rigged up an elevated platform using empty copy paper boxes (my colleague’s idea), to try it out. I was amazed to find I loved standing. The Varidesk can easily adjust back to sitting height at any time. Standing makes it easier to walk to greet a student, or check out the giggles coming from the 613.9 section, where the human body books are shelved.
4. Talk to a Colleague
It might be the down the hall, or it might be someone in your PLN. Make a phone call or send an email — or find another way to make a human connection.
5. Savor Past Successes
Start a folder with nice notes and compliments that people leave for you. Mine range from a small sticky note with “Thanks” scribbled on it, to an email from a student who loved-loved-loved The War That Saved My Life.
6. Do Something Nice for Someone Else
I’m not sure exactly why this works, but it does. Pick up a bit of dropped litter. Smile at a student you don’t know. Compliment a colleague. Let someone else go first in line. Step outside yourself and find a way to make someone else’s day better.
7. Remember That You Matter
You and your library (or media center, or learning commons, or hub or “third space” or <insert term of choice here>) are making a difference in young people’s lives. Don’t let temporary fatigue or disillusionment make you lose sight of the big picture.
If you have ideas for getting your zing back, please share with a comment!