Stress Relievers



Casey did a wonderful job last week talking about Surviving Summer Reading;
if you haven’t reading it yet, go back and read it. I’ll wait.

Done? Kay.

She’s absolutely right that you can absolutely get through summer reading. Definitely. And you can absolutely get through fall programming because that starts right after. Then Christmas. Then Spring. Then Summer Again. And if you don’t learn to give yourself breaks and de-stress properly, you’re gonna feel like this:

Not good.

On the bright side, it’s not too late! There are a ton of things you can do that can really help in the long run.


  • TAKE YOUR BREAKS.  hahahahaha, very funny, do you KNOW how much work I have? Yes, actually, I do, and I know that it will still be there after lunch or dinner or whatever break you get in your work day. If you don’t get a paid break today because you’re working a 4 hour day, TAKE A BATHROOM BREAK.
  • TAKE YOUR VACATION OR SICK TIME. OMG, you’re nuts. Nope, I’m not. If you’re a full time worker (or one of the lucky part-time employees that earn vacation/sick time), you have earned those days. They are a benefit of your employment and they are yours. You may be saving them for a huge vacation, and if so, go you! But if you’re not, take one as a stress holiday and decompress.
  • REMEMBER TO EAT. Yea yea sure sure. I had a yogurt before I left for work, I’ll be fine. Ah, no, the killer headache you have could actually be because you’re hungry and your body is trying to tell you that. If you’re not a big meal eater or you’re worried about stress eating, go freeze some fruit in the fridge (grapes are awesome for this), and eat them frozen. Or stash some crackers in a filing cabinet labeled under e for EMERGENCY supply.
  • DRINK YOUR WATER. Uh huh, saw that on like 7 magazines. Right, but did you listen? There’s a reason why we feel crappy during the day, and it’s because we don’t drink enough at work (and not the liquor). If you need to, set reminders, but make sure you get your water.
  • GET OUT OF THE LIBRARY. Say what? On your break, or after a huge program, as long as it’s not absolutely awful weather, take the time to actually get out of the library and get outside. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, get some non-recycled air.
  • CLEAR YOUR DESK. Now that’s just crazy talk. It’s a mental uplift when you can have a clean desk at the end of the day, and come in to a relatively clean desk at the beginning of a new one. Even if you can’t have it completely clean, straighten piles into neat stacks, and put away everything that you can.
  • DELEGATE. She’s lost her mind. Nope, not in the least. Take a look at everything you want to accomplish in one day, then assign priorities to it. If it has to be done that day (a program, a meeting, a report due), it goes to the top. If it’s something else, it goes lower. Then work your way down. If it doesn’t get done, you write it down for the next day.
  • LEAVE WORK AT WORK. But…. but… Yes, you are a teen services specialist. And you are an awesome, brilliant, caring person. But that is not all you are, and it is not the be all end all of you. Just as it blows your teens mindspace to see you at the grocery store or at the mall, it should be just as strange to have a huge bag of things coming home with you to work on.


  • EXERCISE. Ain’t no one got time for that. Really? Go walk your dog. Your significant other. Turn the music up obnoxiously loud and dance in your socks for twenty minutes. Or if you really want to double things up, power clean- supposedly that counts as exercise.
  • LISTEN TO MUSIC. EHHH? Music is not only good for the mind and for annoying your neighbors, it’s good for the soul as well.
  • TEA. Gone over a bit, has she? Studies show that instead of soda or coffee, tea has relaxing and healthy properties, and you really don’t need to get to a specialty shop or whole leaves to start, either.
  • BREATHE. Doing that, thanks. But are you really? Studies show that stress changes the way we breathe, and because of that, we unlearn the proper way and pick up the stressful way of breathing instead. Try this to relax, and see if it doesn’t help.
  • GET OUT MORE. With what money? Depending on where you live, there typically are free things going on in the area. Museums and parks have free days, you can mall walk, go window shopping with friends, go explore a different neighborhood. Check out the local dollar theater and see a second run movie.
  • GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS. They have no money either. It doesn’t have to be dinner and drinks. Have a board game night, BYOB, and just have a good time. Have a potluck, and watch old DVDs, or the new one you snagged out of tech processing. Laughing is one of the best stress relievers, as well as getting together with friends.
  • HOBBIES. No time, but thanks. This is one of our biggest downfalls as a profession. Time and time again I talk to teen service professionals, and their hobbies are “reading teen and YA books”, “blogging”, and “learning more about the profession.” We’re addicted, and then we’re stressed. Find some hobbies outside of librarianship. What’s something awesome that you really want to try? Teach yourself a musical instrument- pawn shops and goodwill stores often have decent instruments at really cheap prices. Learn a craft, try to cook a different cuisine, learn another language, study digital photography- something that engages and relaxes you at the same time that has NOTHING to do with libraries save for checking out how-to books.
  • PAMPER YOURSELF. But… but… No buts. You are important, and you need to put yourself first for once. Whether it’s expensive bubble bath, a new hair cut, getting nails done, a massage, taking yourself out to lunch or treating yourself to a type of food you wouldn’t normally eat- do SOMETHING special for yourself every month. One treat that you budget for yourself won’t break your bank, and you’re fitting it into your budget. You’re not doing it every week, but it gives you something to look forward to.

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