Merry Christmas to those celebrating today! I hope you received the gifts you wanted. For those of you who are with family and friends this holiday weekend, being with them can be a gift in itself. For those who find themselves on their own at this season, I wish quiet peace and finding the strength and courage to fill your life with joy. For all of you, I wish time to relax and rejuvenate. Too often we go from our hectic jobs to an almost frenetic pace preparing for and participating in the holidays. Before you know it, your vacation is over and you return to your libraries exhausted.
So, take a breath. Look around. And savor the gifts you have in your life.
It’s too easy to identify what you wish for and don’t have. Instead, reflect and focus on what you have and all perhaps take for granted. Commercials and appeal letters in the mail remind me of the many people who don’t have the simple basics of life that we take for granted such as fresh water and ample food (too much for many of us at this time of year).
Give yourself the gift of time. It’s so lacking in our lives. If you live by your to-do list as I do, include yourself on the list. Binge watch a favorite television program you have been too busy to watch. (My daughter recently couldn’t stop talking about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime). Read a book you want to read. Play some board games. Do what you enjoy that you haven’t been doing because of the tasks that occupy so much of your life.
For me, I make sure to go out for a walk. I have been doing this 3-5 times a week for a few years now. It’s what I do for me. It gets me away from my computer and out in the world. I have met so many wonderful people on the way. Sometimes they even toot their horn and wave when they drive past. I watch the seasons change, and pet dogs on their own walks. I have watched exterior home improvements happening, seen people sell their homes and new owners move in.
Most of all I take this time think. Sometimes it’s about what my I should write for this blog. Other times I contemplate what I am going to eat. (I am a lifetime Weight Watcher member.) And in-between random and focused thoughts, my mind unclutters. It’s peaceful and my own form of meditation.
Make time to appreciate yourself. Many of you feel unappreciated at work (and sometimes at home). Think of the gifts you give to others. What do you do for your family? What do you do for your teachers and students? If you are doing it because it’s who you are, and only on bad days do you feel you are being taken for granted, give yourself a pat on the back.
How many times have students thanked you for your help? Don’t gloss over their words. They recognize the gifts you give to them. Remember the time teachers also thanked you. They, too, are harried and over-worked. They may not take time to express their gratitude, but when you reach out to them and build relationships, you will hear it more often.
Do give thanks to others. Make it a practice to thank those who in any way are helpful to you. If you are specific in your thanks, as I noted in last weeks blog “The Power and Importance of Feedback,” you will help make their day.
Being true to my own words, I am thankful to all my readers and the participants in my Facebook group and to the extensive librarian colleagues and friends in my life. You make my days richer. You are there to answer my questions and to post comments that keep me learning. It is challenging for me to keep up since I no longer work in a school library, but thanks to you, I am not lost in the past. I thank you for that gift.
Enjoy your vacation – and the gifts you get and bring. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.