How has it already been a year of pandemic living? Readers, are you all doing okay? Personally, I’m doing better than before, but graduation right around the corner has brought on its own set of mental health triggers.
I recently participated on a panel at school concerning mental health in the LIS field. The timing could not have been better, as #LISMentalHealth Week just wrapped up. Like Christina and Chloe did in 2016 and 2018 respectively, I opted to list some of what happened on the 2021 Twitter chat and hashtag in general.
First, the questions to drive the chat are important for everyone to at least reflect on. Many of us were already struggling with school, work, and life before the pandemic, so make sure to take just a short 10 seconds to answer each of these in your head:
Q1. How are you doing, a year out?
Q2. How has mental illness affected your pandemic experience? (Whether your own or your community as a whole.)
Q3. What kind of resources would be helpful for you? (Dream big or small!)
Q4. Where are you finding joy these days?
Q5. What will you be doing differently to take care of yourself in the future? What skills have proven most sturdy?
“Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue” by Jeremy N. Bailenson from the open access journal Technology, Mind, and Behavior looks into why we get so tired using Zoom. Who knew how our nonverbal communication could overload people on the other end of the Zoom call?
Twitter user @itsuhLEEsuh mentioned how chatting with students can make a difference in cheering her up. For me, I get so focused on my work while at the service desk that interacting with patrons is a welcome break. She and others also mentioned that one way to celebrate #LISMentalHealth Week was to schedule a mental health day. For those who are working and going to school, check with your HR department to see if you can preplan a mental health day.
There’s an amazing website, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts, called Mindfulinlis. The page “aims to provide tools, discussions, and educational programs to re-frame the narrative of current work culture in libraries.” BIPOC students, make sure to check out their resource guide! With this, Box Breathing was mentioned by Twitter user @Libraried. I’ve done it in some webinars I’ve attended this year as quick mindfulness breaks, but had no idea what the name was.
Topics concerning long COVID and brain fog continued to pop up. As someone who had COVID-19 in the Fall and is still trying to get over the brain fog, I know how this can affect mental health. I used to never write anything down and could remember email conversations from years ago. Now, I feel like I’m operating at 75% capacity and can’t remember things I did just two weeks ago. The added work to always write notes for myself and working slower than usual causes higher anxiety than my status quo before I got sick. For those having long COVID symptoms, I wish you the best in your recovery.
Finally, make sure to request the newest issue of Reserve and Renew for the low donation of $5 per copy. I fell a little behind on these, but the first two issues were amazing and an effective tool to prompt discussions with my coworkers about mental health.
Mental health and everything it entails should always be one of our priorities. Whatever your mental state may be right now, know that you’re doing just fine and you can always reach out to me for a listening ear about your mental health struggles. How do you bring these topics into your personal, professional, and student lives?
Conrrado is an online MLIS student at the University of Washington iSchool and an Adult Services Specialist at the Natrona County Library.