Dealing with a case of the winter blues can cast a dull shadow over anyone’s mood — and that certainly counts for those of us who are dedicated to keeping our school libraries up and running! So… here are NINE ways that school librarians can conquer those winter blahs — and keep some inner sunshine going strong until spring arrives!
Embrace the Cozy
- #1 Library hygge vibes: Transform at least a small corner of your library into your own personal winter wonderland with a cozy chair (or a least a support pillow for your back), a few fairy lights, a washable throw, and something that provides a calm, soothing scent. Claim this spot as an oasis where you can steal a few moments to sit and breathe each day — even if it’s just long enough to eat your lunch. (Oh… and please eat your lunch.) 🙂 While you’re at it, schedule a hot cocoa break for yourself every day (put it in your phone) and if possible, create a happy, cozy vibe in your library by projecting a YouTube video of a crackling fireplace, snow falling, or one of those cozy winter music videos — my favorite right now is at this link… Winter Cafe … you’re welcome!
- #2 Comfort clothing: Prioritize dressing for comfort and coziness every day this winter! Wear soft layers, wrap on a favorite scarf, and slip your feet into your most comfortable fuzzy socks and clogs. Somehow, feeling good in your clothes always goes a long way toward making it through a long, winter day with a smile intact!
Find Winter Fun Where You Can
- #3 Winter stories: Celebrate the cold, wet season by centering your students’ work around fun winter-themed picture books! Create plans that you’ll actually look forward to teaching each day by including awesome stories with engaging activities. (I’ll share a few of my TPT links below that combine books with fun library lesson ideas. Just move your mouse over the choices.)
- Squirrels’ New Year’s Resolution (mid-year library rules and resolutions)
- Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups (mini research on hiccups)
- Polar Opposites (library mid-year book care and a fun photo project with library antonyms)
- Tacky the Penguin (Readers’ Theater)
- An Introduction to Readers’ Theater
- Snowman Wisdom (with library book talk templates)
- #4 Go outdoors : BRRR??! Okay, hear me out! Unless you live in the tundra somewhere… bundle up at lunch time and go outside — even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. Take a brisk walk around the building, breathe in the crisp air, and then sneak over to your vehicle, get inside, and just bask in the absolute quiet for a few minutes. Ahhh! Nature and stolen solitude can be powerful mood boosters!
Connect and Recharge:
- #5 Mindful moments: Grab your favorite warm beverage and start your school day with prayer, a moment of meditation, and a few deep-breathing exercises to help set a positive tone. Even a few minutes can make a difference in how your day will go. I love Jessica Lawler’s Facebook Group called Joy in the Journey. She recently bundled some of her content into a little book of prayer prompts that are geared toward teachers. Her thoughts always seem to hit my heart just right! I found her book on Amazon. (This is not an affiliate link… just a heads up!)
- #6 Library friend support: Ugh… if you’re feeling isolated, please find a social media group that focuses on school librarians and scroll along with us for a few moments each afternoon. Need some help? Post a question. Feeling overwhelmed? Reach out for support. Feeling stuck? Ask for an idea or even a library management tip. You’re more than welcome to join us for book talks, bulletin boards, and lots of other great library lesson, decor, and “library housekeeping” ideas! You might be surprised at how quickly you’ll get just what you need… and some new library friends!
The social media groups that I monitor include:
- That Library Girl (Facebook)
- @that.library.girl (Instagram)
- Library Bulletin Boards and Displays (Facebook)
- and TPT Resources for School Librarians (Facebook).
Self-Care Really is Key:
- #7 Prioritize sleep: You’ve just got to do it. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to combat winter fatigue. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night (or staying asleep until morning) consider talking to your doctor about adding a natural supplement like melatonin or magnesium to your evening bedtime routine.
- #8 Speaking of healthy habits: Fuel your body with nutritious foods, stay hydrated, take warm, relaxing baths, put lotion on your dry skin, and get some daily exercise — even if it’s just doing a “Go Noodle” song routine or two with your early childhood classes each day. (The music and movement really will give you a much-needed boost!) This YouTube clip was a favorite of ours (and is still available to use as of December 2023) — Escape into Winter Run.
- #9 Meal Prep: Granted, this one requires a bit of grocery shopping and chef work on the front-end… but it’s also a LIFESAVER to come home to a yummy-smelling crockpot that has your dinner all ready-to-go! Make yourself set aside time to prep a few crockpot dinners on the weekend, and give yourself that gift of extra evening time to relax. Need recipes? I found a nice collection of 6 Crockpot Freezer Meals on the “Fit Foodie Finds” website. Check it out and you’ll find step-by-step directions, grocery lists, and lots of “how to” photos. Winner winner — crockpot dinner!
- And a BONUS — #10 — Find your JOY: Instead of staying after school to “catch-up” like I always did (and now regret) head home when your school day contract hours are finished! Once there, since that crockpot has your dinner under control…set aside 30 minutes to enjoy a hobby or a special activity that truly brings you happiness. (Set a timer for your kids to work on a fun, independent project as well — reading, building with Legos, coloring, shooting baskets in the driveway, something EASY and stress-free for you. Let’s face it… everyone could use a little time to decompress after school!) Or… if you’ve spent all day missing your kids… pull them into your lap and share some hugs and a good story together! Whether you choose to spend time with your kids, read, draw, play a musical instrument, crochet, chat on the phone, do your nails, or watch a funny show… just figure out SOMETHING that will deposit a little sunshine into your soul!
As a librarian… YOU are the living, breathing sunshine in so many young lives… but that light can feel depleted when we’ve been figuratively smacked on the head by a winter blues snowball! By purposefully making these ideas a priority each day, you’ll be better equipped to spread joy, light, and warmth even during the coldest winter days.