There is a familiar sort of guilt in my life. That feeling of all the things that I should be doing. I should be reading and replying to more library Facebook threads. I should be going to Twitter chats. I should be spending more of my summer planning for a school year that is impossible to predict precisely. I should be applying to present at virtual conferences this fall. But many days, all I feel up to doing is running to the grocery store, anxiously washing my hands and reading YA fiction. Or re-watching all the Harry Potter movies while sewing up more masks that I know I’m going to need when I’m going in to work five days a week again.
You have permission to NOT do ALL the things
I have to remind myself again and again. It’s okay to feel exhausted. To not know everything. It’s okay to realize that you don’t have the physical, mental or emotional energy to participate in everything professionally that you think you should be doing.
Yes, it’s important to plan for what this year might hold. And to make back-up plans for your back-up plans. And it’s good to remind yourself of what you’ve already done. Before the school year wrapped, I wrote up a document about possible plans for the fall that I’ve already shared with my administration. I started up our Sora catalog during lockdown so students could access books. I’ve been using Instagram to connect with students over the break.
What’s important right now (for me at least, but probably for others as well), is to not fall into the comparison trap. I go on social media, read blogs, journal articles, and see all these amazing ideas other librarians are coming up with for what their library programs will look like during pandemic times (in-person, virtual, blended, etc). And it’s so easy for me to start beating myself up about how I’m not planning x, y or z programs. Because I can’t do ALL the things.It’s okay to recognize that we need to recharge and be kind to ourselves. And that it's okay if we don't accomplish ALL the things. Click To Tweet
Slow down, find a focus
The key is to find the one or two ideas that really resonate. That would be fantastic for your school community and where your library culture where it is right now. Focus on planning those ideas, while accepting that you don’t have to attempt the billion other ideas floating around on the internet. And accept that this is a journey, we’re all figuring things out together.
And I do still want to go to virtual conferences and watch webinars and sketchnote them. I do want to connect with others. But it’s also okay to recognize that we need to recharge and be kind to ourselves. And that it’s okay if we don’t accomplish all the things.
5 thoughts on “You have permission to NOT do ALL the things”
Wow Diana – we all need to hear this message again and again to remind ourselves! So many folks don’t understand that teachers and administrators are working harder than ever planning, considering, educating themselves and creating …along with worrying most of the time. Thanks again! And DO KNOW that you were the major influence for me to start our own Makerspace at my school two years ago! It is slow going but a reality now, and I am truly grateful for all of your blog posts and inspiration. They keep giving and inspiring! I recommend them to others too. 🙂
Thanks Susan! This summer has probably been one of the most exhausting in my career. I needed to remind myself that I can only do so much, and I figured others could benefit from that reminder as well.
Thank you for sharing your feelings and confirming that it is ok to NOT do all the things. The guilt is immense…but gaining understanding about our new normal and taking it one step at a time are essential at this moment in time.
Thanks! Teacher guilt is a special kind of guilt. It’s definitely important to take things one step at a time right now.
Thanks, Diana – sometimes we need someone else to give us permission to say ‘no’, step back, and be still.
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