By Christine F. Smith, Collections Services Librarian, Concordia University
With the library profession being referred to as a highly stressful job, it’s important for those who work in libraries to develop a toolkit to keep oneself healthy and happy, at work, at home, and generally in life. But, the more we have on our plate, the less time we may have, and the harder it may be to find new ways to improve our lives. With that in mind, this post aims to provide four quick, widely-recommended, tried-and-true tips from the experts and fellow library professionals, to stay centered through all of life’s hiccups. Mindfulness is a practice that can start small and grow, so think of this as a place to start.
Tip 1: Breathing
It sounds simple, but counting or paying attention to breaths is an immediate way to stay present in the moment. Since you’re breathing all day long, you can incorporate mindful breaths into any part of your day.
Stepping away for a break or going for a walk at lunch can help you refocus your energies, and new surroundings can give you a new outlook. Can’t change the scenery? Try finding beauty in what is around you: from pleasing architecture to a beautiful book, from a tree out the window to a picture on your desk. Find something positive to focus on and your outlook can follow.
Tip 3: Mindful moments
Whether it is waiting for a meeting to start or waiting for someone to take books out of their bag, there are moments throughout the day where when we pause. We can take that time to remind ourselves to stay present and mindful.
Tip 4: Start with yourself
Moniz, et. al. (2016) state that one should “remember, the important thing is to be kind and patient with yourself. If you can’t do that then it can be hard to be present and caring with the other people you interact with and serve.” (p. 536). Self-love is a large part of self-care, but it’s a process, so remember to be kind to yourself with whatever your situation may be.
Where to go from here?
There are many places to get recommendations. Ruhlmann (2017) suggests learning more with books, apps, and websites. There are also webinars and videos that can help guide you to be more mindful. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge on this topic, consider starting with some of the sources used for this post.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2019.
Moniz, R., Henry, J., Eshleman, E., Moniz, & Slutzky, H. (2016) Stressors and librarians, CR&L News, 77 (11), 534-536. Retrieved from https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/issue/view/628
Moniz, R. & Slutzky, H. (2016). A Brief Introduction to Mindfulness: Origins, Science, the Brain, and Practice. In Moniz, R., Eshleman, J., Henry, J., Slutzky, H. & Moniz, L., The Mindful Librarian. (pp.1-25). Boston: Chandos Publishing. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-100555-2.00001-1
Ruhlmann, E. (2017). Mindful librarianship. American Libraries, June 2017,44-47. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2017/06/01/mindful-librarianship/
Tobler, A. & Hermann, S. (2013). Rough Guide to Mindfulness: The essential companion to personal growth. London: Rough Guides.
Topper, E.F. (2007). Stress in the library workplace. New Library World, 108 (11/12), 561-564. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800710838290