Escape to Your Happy Place: De-Stressing on the Job

According to Forbes (and hey, aren’t they just “experts” on libraries!), librarian is #8 on the list of “Least Stressful Jobs of 2014” (info via CareerCast).

Well, who can blame them? We just read books all day, don’t we? Ummmm, no.

Hmm…Guess they’re not dealing with budget cuts, anti-tax crusaders, soiled diapers on the story time floor, skyrocketing e-journal costs, new information literacy standards, and irate patrons.

I count myself as one of the lucky ones. As primarily an instruction/reference librarian in an academic library, I’m usually not the one that has to lobby campus administration or deal with library fines. But frustration and stress can still bubble over: never-ending meetings, red tape, lack of resources, that thorn-in-your-side [patron, co-worker, professor, student…fill in the blank], the constant “do more with less” mantra, or worse yet…a toxic work environment.

Although it’s no “cure all,” sometimes you need to take a minute to de-stress, relax, or have a laugh. Escape to your happy place for a bit. Here are a few things I like to do:

1. Take a walk
Get up from your desk! Leave the building. Breathe in some fresh air. Librarians (for the most part) sit too much and that’s not good for your health.

Step outdoors of my library and there’s a beautiful college campus.

Step outdoors of my library and there’s a beautiful college campus.

2. Karma Cleanser
I guess this would count as “aromatherapy“? At one library I used to work at, we kept a bottle of some sort of herbal spray. Everyone called it “Karma Cleanser.” After a bad patron encounter, we would spray it around the desk to “take the ick away.” It smelled good and made us feel better. Also gave us a little laugh.

3. Live Vicariously
As a faithful public servant, you often have to bite your tongue. But what if you didn’t? There are times when I wish I could yell and shout like Susie Greene from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Watching a YouTube video of her “best of” moments puts me in a good mood. Warning: NSFW (crude language, body shaming, etc… the usual Curb stuff).

 

4. Relaxing Photos
Are you following the U.S. Department of the Interior on Instagram? You should be. Mountain vistas, beautiful valleys, ocean views…You’ll be transported to a peaceful environment, if for a few seconds.

U.S. Department of the Interior on Instagram

U.S. Department of the Interior on Instagram

5. Cute Animals
Not ashamed to admit it: When I need cheering up, a cute animal will do. My go to sites are Buzzfeed Animals, Cute Overload, and Attack of the Cute among others.

homearly

What tips do you have? Feel free to share!

My co-worker's stress ball collection. She handles library fines.

My co-worker’s stress ball collection. She handles library fines.

 

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20 thoughts on “Escape to Your Happy Place: De-Stressing on the Job

  1. I think it depends on who your co-workers are.
    Leslie

  2. I have one of those little stress pigs! Squeezy Pig is very helpful.

  3. Clearly Forbes values content over quality: They don’t even explain why they rank the jobs the way they do!

    I firmly believe that loving where you work and what you do is the best way to “love” work. It is still hella stressful, but I’d rather be stressed out in a high school classroom than be a medical records technician. (But that is just because I love what I do!)

  4. I read that, it annoyed me, someone should lose their fact checking job over that one I believe!
    Here is what working in a Library is like: it is like being an early, primary, secondary, tertiary and ESL teacher all rolled into one except you never know what they are going to need to learn that day so you have to try and prepare for anything and you still get stymied. Oh, I forgot you are also supposed to be Police, I had a student the other day tell me that she had left her phone in the Library’s care (AKA put it on the recharge station then went to class) and therefore it was the Library’s responsibility that the phone was stolen… umm… okay… no.
    I love that you have a list here, my personal escape is listening to music (Madilyn Bailey’s version of Titanium is a personal favourite). I found that I always came home from work happier on days I listened to music. But you know what this proves? Not only do Librarian’s have to be overly prepared for everyone else, we even have to plan and prepare our own stress relief hahaha.
    Do you ever sit there and repeat, “I love my job, I love my job”?

  5. Reblogged this on Ditch the Bun and commented:
    I had to share this post, as a Librarian everything in this post is familiar to me :)
    Whilst constructing a comment for this post I rather nicely put together what I feel a Librarian’s role is really like.
    “Here is what working in a Library is like: it is like being an early, primary, secondary, tertiary and ESL teacher all rolled into one except you never know what they are going to need to learn that day so you have to try and prepare for anything and you still get stymied. Oh, I forgot you are also supposed to be Police, I had a student the other day tell me that she had left her phone in the Library’s care (AKA put it on the recharge station then went to class) and therefore it was the Library’s responsibility that the phone was stolen… umm… okay… no.
    I love that you have a list here, my personal escape is listening to music (Madilyn Bailey’s version of Titanium is a personal favourite). I found that I always came home from work happier on days I listened to music. But you know what this proves? Not only do Librarian’s have to be overly prepared for everyone else, we even have to plan and prepare our own stress relief hahaha.”
    I should add that I mentioned nothing about technology here and that was a huge error on my part, we are also expected to be technology support for any technology ever invented. People have literally brought their new tablet from the shop, come into the Library and handed me the box and asked me to set it up for them. I have also had a child ask me why their tamagotchi died. I have had people call me and ask why their email is not working or to help them download and set up Skype over the phone. The Librarian – the true jack of all trades :)
    Do you ever sit there and repeat, “I love my job, I love my job”?

  6. I want to know where your coworker found her stress balls. The only ones I found in my local area aren’t the squishy type and it drives me crazy.

    I’ve had a couple of people ask and assume that all I do is read all day. Or play with technology. No. Well, yes I play with technology, but no, not all day. Technology gets frustrating, and some days you just don’t want to face the desk. Most days I love going to work, but some days I get home and crash with music and just let go of the world for a few minutes.

    • I asked my co-worker about her stress bass collection: She said she’s never bought any of them! She just picks them up at conferences, trade shows, community fairs, etc. Also, once her student workers found out about her collection, they pick them up for her whenever they see one!

  7. leaving my desk and walking is a huge stress reliever, probably the main one I use a lot. you have other good advice too…thanks.

  8. Pingback: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME | Inherently Fancy

  9. Love your co-worker’s Wookie stress ball!
    I’ve just introduced Themed Third Thursdays in our department – just a wee bit of light-hearted fun to brighten the day. xx

  10. Pingback: Check Yo’ Self: Keeping “Cool” in Libraries. | The Crafty Librarian

  11. I totally relate to these stressors and would add “Competing with classroom libraries” and “people who buy their own books and make you feel like you have nothing interesting in your collection.”

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