Do you find yourself feeling overworked and overwhelmed? You are not alone. Amy Tureen, head of the Library Liaison Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and Amanda Melilli, head of the Teacher Development and Resources Library at UNLV, have both been there and shared some startling statistics:
- 33% of Americans report feelings of “extreme stress.”
- 60-90% of doctor visits are related to “stress-related complaints.”
As such, it should not come as a surprise that there has been a strong emphasis on well-being at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference. Well-being has been emphasized because it is absolutely essential.
Tureen is an extrovert. Melilli is an introvert. This dynamic duo engaged in a 15-week experiment where they both personally tested strategies for establishing a healthy work-life balance. During the program “Managing to Manage: Strategies for Both Extroverted and Introverted Managers Who Feel Overworked and Overwhelmed,” the pair shared their strategies for reducing stress in their lives.
In order to do so, they engaged in a series of pre and post-tests to better understand their personal stressors, ability to achieve work-life balance, self-compassion rating, and burnout numbers.
Checkout the pre and post-tests Tureen and Melilli completed here:
- MHA Stress Screener
- CMHA Work-Life Balance Quiz
- Neff Self-Compassion Survey
- Psychology Today Burnout Test
After completing the pre-tests, Melilli and Tureen tried several wellness concepts, which included: meditation, exercise, healthy eating, breathing exercises, sleep, and self-care breaks.
Would engaging in the wellness techniques outlined above really make a difference?
Short answer: Yes, with varying degrees of success.
The pair developed individual criteria for each wellness concept and used Google Spreadsheets to track their progress. They also completed a stress test twice daily (once in the morning and again in the afternoon/evening) and self-reported on the following “stress-related areas”:
- energy levels
- motivational levels
- playing nice with others
- unanticipated changes
- time for self (this stress test was only conducted in the afternoons/evenings)
When Tureen and Melilli compared their pre and post-test results for the Stress Screener, Work-Life Balance Quiz, Self-Compassion Survey, and Burnout Test, their numbers had improved! Both reported lower stress levels, better work-life balance, higher self-compassion and better rates of not being burnt out.
Here are some key takeaways from their experiment that are applicable to both introverts and extroverts:
- Let go of perfectionism.
- Set reasonable expectations.
- Set boundaries. Inform your colleagues/direct reports of what these boundaries are.
- Take risks.
- Try new things.
- Invest in quiet moments and in oneself.
By intentionally meditating and exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, engaging in mindful breathing exercises, and taking self-care breaks and individualizing their approach to each activity, Melilli and Tureen reduced their overall stress levels. By employing these strategies, perhaps you can too!