As schools across the country are closing for weeks, months, and some for the rest of the year, school librarians (and other educators) are undoubtedly experiencing waves of emotion. We are sad because we miss our students and colleagues. We are scared because we are worried about the health of those same students and colleagues, as well as our friends and family. We are frustrated because our students are missing out not only on their education, but milestones like graduation and prom. We don’t know when or if we will be able to return to our schools. Meanwhile, there’s no denying that this is a scary time.
Whether or not you regularly grapple with anxiety, your worries are likely to be exacerbated due to the dwindling toilet paper supply, the onslaught of Coronavirus news, and the mounting number of fatalities. It is vital for our mental well-being that we practice using coping skills and recognize our fears and worries.
I recently came across this image from The Counseling Teacher. Its simplicity and power was immediately evident. For any issue you struggle with, think about your circle of control. What can you control about the Coronavirus pandemic? What doesn’t fit inside your circle? Those are things you have to let go of. Focus on you and what you can do to help yourself, friends, family, students, and colleagues while also remaining safe and healthy.
What worries are you struggling with? I urge you to make your own circle of control and then concentrate on what’s inside your circle. I will leave you with this graphic from Scriberian that illustrates some great tips for protecting your mental health from BBC.
Author: Brandi Hartsell
Brandi Hartsell is the school librarian at Halls High School in Knoxville, TN. She was awarded Teacher of the Year at HHS in 2021. Brandi was also recognized alongside colleagues as recipients of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) Teacher Collaboration Award in 2019 and 2021. She has served (and continues to serve) in many leadership roles within TASL. Brandi has presented professional development sessions for TASL, Halls High School, and Knox County Schools. Brandi loves sharing ideas and brainstorming…also cats…and true crime. Follow her on Instagram @hhslibrarytn.