Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ROUND SIX - Stress Therapy

This post will explore different techniques for reducing stress. We tried to find interesting activities that you might not have tried before. Please give one or two of them a try. Let us know what you liked (and what you didn't). Share your thoughts with a comment.

1. Art Therapy . Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic to learn about three art therapy techniques that are easy to try: crayon resist, mosaic, and soft pastels. Try one! If you want to share your results, scan your creation and send it by e-mail to and we will post it on the blog.

2. Meditation. Try this video relaxation exercise, also from Mayo clinic.

3. Practice yoga at your desk.

4. Join a support group at Daily Strength. DailyStrength was created by internet veterans with more than 20 years of experience conceiving, building, and running the largest communities on the web, including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Photos, Yahoo Personals, Yahoo Groups, GeoCities, Facebook, My Yahoo, Yahoo Message Boards and more.

5. Give aromatherapy a chance.

6. Read or listen to inspirational stories. Try dipping into "Kitchen Table Wisdom" or "My Grandfather's Blessings" by Rachel Naomi Remen. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch is another insightful and inspiring book. Browse through the titles in the library catalog under the subject "Inspiration" or "Mental Healing" and choose one that appeals to you. Sign up for a daily dose of "Inbox Inspiration", and get a new quote in your e-mail every day from the Foundation for A Better Life website.

7. Start a stress journal - A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure). How you felt, both physically and emotionally. How you acted in response. What you did to make yourself feel better.

8. Do you have a procrastination problem? Try using the techniques outlined here to overcome it.


I'm sure those of you participating in the Health & Wellness Challenge have a favorite recipe for a healthy snack, meal or dessert. We would like to compile a "cookbook" of some of your favorite recipes. If you have a tried and true healthy recipe that you would like to share, please put in Word format and send it via email to Michelle B @ Brick. We will hopefully have the cookbook finished in time for Staff Development Day. Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ROUND FIVE - Workplace Stress

Many of you have seen the recent New York Times article about a rise in stressful situations in public libraries. We are busier then ever, and our customers are experiencing high levels of anxiety.

Now, more than ever, we need to work on managing workplace stress.

Since this round is off to a late start, try to pick one or two of the following activities. Round Six will be posted on or around May 1st.

1. This article has been shared with library managers. Ask that stress be a topic at your next branch/department staff meeting, so your work group can brainstorm some ideas to reduce stress at work.

2. Read this entry from the Facts on File Encyclopedia of Work-Related Illnesses, Injuries, and Health Issues. Take the SELF-TEST: HOW STRESSFUL IS YOUR JOB?

3. Try one of the following activities suggested from this article on burnout:
  • Try to sit down and identify three major ways you could improve your job or home situation. Write them down, and list the steps you will need to take. Commit to making the changes.
  • Give up what you can. Put aside extra work, projects, and volunteer time for a few months. Give yourself a break. Just say "No."
  • Vow to get some form of recreation or exercise daily. Take a walk, ride a bike, throw a frisbee, or play golf, or other fun activities.
  • Identify 15 small things that give you pleasure. Write them down. Pick one each day, and do it. Read that book, take that nap, visit your friend, or see that movie.
  • Focus on one thing you are grateful for each day when you wake up, and again when you go to sleep.
  • Get out of your rut. Plan a surprise picnic, or a moonlight hike.
  • Try yoga, deep breathing, or other relaxation techniques.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, and take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.

4. Read this article on ergonomics for library workers. It offers some useful, practical tips on keyboarding, mousing, eye care, and posture. This article also has some good techniques for reducing "computer stress".

5. How to Live a Low-Stress Lifestyle: Sign up for this free ten-week e-course for plenty of tips on how to decrease stress in your life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Recipe: Red Lentil Soup

Toms River Team Member Suzanne M. has a recipe to share:

I tried red lentils as a new food during the Conscious Eating challenge. This is my new favorite soup.

Red Lentil Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. hot curry paste (or 1-2 tsp. powder)
1 Tbs. fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped or grated (or more to taste)
1 tsp. cumin
2 cups dried red lentils
6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 can coconut milk (light)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint (or 1 Tbs. dried mint)

Directions:Place the chopped onion and oil in a large pan and sauté until transparent. Add in the curry paste, ginger and cumin and cook while gently stirring for 3 minutes. Add lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring. (Because I did not want to have to watch it for 20 minutes after coming to a boil I put it in a crock pot on low for an hour or so.) Add the coconut milk and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the lime zest and juice and mint.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Free Food Workshop

In recognition of National Women's Health Week, May 10-16, 2009, the Ocean County Advisory Commission on the Status of Women, Women's Health Month Committee is co-sponsoring with the Displaced Homemaker's Program of Ocean County a free program:

FOOD: Mind & Body Connection
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
6:00pm to 8:00pm
at the Ocean County College Bookstore, Conference Room A&B
Seating is limited
RSVP 732-255-0400, ext 2945
Refreshments will be served!
Join us to learn how the food we eat is connected to both mind & body.