Note from the Associate Editorial Director: Turn over a new leaf with professional self-care

CDI Strategies - Volume 17, Issue 37

by Linnea Archibald

After many years out of school rhythms, fall still has a “new school year” energy about it. Even without an official summer break, the warmer months still feel looser, a bit less structured, sometimes a little more chaotic. When we turn the calendar page to September, I’m ready to turn a new leaf with the trees and put some peace and calm back into my life.

As I’ve said in other venues, summer is an especially busy time for ACDIS. With the start of a new ACDIS Leadership Council term, CDI Week, the publication of the new edition of the ACDIS Pocket Guide, Journal editions, the beginning of the ACDIS Scholarship application period, 2024 conference planning in full swing, and more, you may think that the fall season would be our busiest season. But all those fun, public-facing events and publications are being created and finished in the summer so they’re ready for you, our members, in the fall.

All that means that, by the time August comes to a close, we are all tired and a bit worse for wear.

Based on my conversations with our members, I’m guessing some of you are feeling the same. Whether or not you are in school or you have kids in school, by the time fall arrives, you’re ready for some rest and routine. And the data from the 2023 CDI Week Industry Survey (which will be published to kick-off our celebrations on Sunday, September 17) bears that out.

According to the section on professional development and staffing, nearly 31% said they either disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that their department is adequately staffed for the workload they have. More than 27% said they felt either neutrally, disagreed with, or strongly disagreed with the statement that they feel valued and respected by their senior leadership team. Another 17% said the same about the statement that they feel valued and respected by their direct manager.

While generally, CDI professionals are passionate about their careers and feel positive about their roles, those feeling undervalued and overworked could fall prey to burnout, leaving the others on the team to pick up the slack and risk burnout themselves. If you’re a leader, I encourage you to talk to your staff. Check in with them and see how they’re doing, both professionally and personally. Look for ways you can support them in the workplace and use the data in the Industry Survey to support your proposals if you can (there’s some data surrounding career ladders and financial incentives for certifications, for example).

If you’re a staff member feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I encourage you to talk to your leaders. Tell them how you’re feeling and look for solutions. Maybe some PTO is in order, some flex time could be used, or a hybrid onsite/remote schedule employed. Maybe you need to bring up potential changes to your role to allow you to focus on what you’re passionate about to stay invigorated in the profession (for example, perhaps you’re interested in pursuing an educator or auditor role instead of a CDI specialist one).

Remember, self-care doesn’t necessarily entail bubble baths, face masks, massages, and a fancy latte from your favorite coffee shop—as lovely as all those things are. Sometimes true self-care is recognizing that you’ve reached your limit and taking steps to change things. I want to invite you, as we enter this new calendar season, to rethink your professional self-care. What can you do this season to bring some rest and calm into your working life? Let’s use this season to reevaluate and reset.

Editor’s note: Archibald is the associate editorial director of publications and membership at ACDIS, which is based in Middleton, Massachusetts. Contact her at

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