Self-care is very important. There are many things we can do to promote vitality and well-being. There are the simple things that sometimes feel so hard to do, but are so essential to good health: a well-balanced diet, drinking a decent amount of water, a good night’s sleep, and exercise throughout the week are good places to start. No matter what your living arrangements are, it is important during this time of COVID-19, to practice a healthy lifestyle, not only for your own sake, but to help keep others safe and healthy, too. 

I am in the middle of a 14-day quarantine due to a long road trip I recently took to Idaho. I needed to see my daughter, who recently had a medical emergency. By the time I got there, the emergency turned into a crisis of another sort, but I am glad that I could go to help in the limited way I could. Sometimes good health is provided by quality medical care, sometimes that medical care gets in the way of health. In this case, I was there to help mediate, to smooth the waters, to help people see another path to health, which, in itself, is another form of self-care. I felt that by giving of myself, my time, my attention, my words, and my silence, in real time, I would be better able to help take care of my daughter and my own well-being, than if I just did it on the phone or through a video chat. It was a trip that was long overdue, due to the restrictions that COVID has put in place, but sometimes, in the face of adversity, you just need to act. I have no regrets about going, and feel the best I have felt in years through decisive and focused interaction with my kids. 

The restrictions we have in place at the library, due to the pandemic, are thoughtful and well-intentioned. We have limited front door service and all manner of other types of services in place to help bring people into the library on a limited basis. We continue to offer circulation desk services so folks can pick up holds and get library cards, we offer 50-minute computer sessions at the top of the hour, and the Medford Friends Bookstore is open two days a week to help get books into people’s hands who want to own, not borrow, materials. We have robust online services available to our patrons to use, from storytime to databases, from Zoom programs to streaming services. Right at the moment, the hardest thing for many people is being able to browse the collection, but we have JCLS Discovery and reader’s advisory help at the desk. You tell us what you are interested in, and we help you by finding titles in the stacks for you and your family to read and enjoy. 

The good side to all this is that we are here to help keep you safe and to help keep our staff safe while COVID is still raging throughout the region and the world. We truly care about our community, and work closely with local, state, and federal rules and guidelines to help us guide our way through the pandemic. I say all this because I am at home, working through a mandatory quarantine, and I feel that it is for the best, not only for my fellow workers, but for the patrons that we serve. I just came back from a region that has had high COVID rates throughout the pandemic, that has recently eliminated mask mandates, and, to top it off, I visited family that had a COVID exposure in their home. I feel that by staying home, taking my temperature twice a day, eating well, sleeping well, and keeping my exposure to others at a minimum, that I am doing the best I can to ensure that I stay well and healthy, and keep others that way, too. 

Self-care sometimes means more than looking out after yourself. As my drive to Idaho made clear, one’s own health is truly reliant on the well-being of others. Take care, and take your temperature… the sake of your health and the health of the community depends on it.