Work Life Balance

I have written about dealing with stress before, and I still feel it is one of the most difficult things about my job. The other night I had a nightmare about not being about to answer a patron’s reference question. I woke you with my heart pounding, convinced that I was unfit for reference work.

A good way to attempt to stop thinking about work all the time is hobbies, activities, and well, getting a life. Unfortunately, most of my volunteer activities are library-work related, and sometimes there doesn’t feel like there is enough time in the day to unwind.

My favourite ways to stop thinking about work are:

  • baking
  • knitting
  • reading
  • tabletop games
  • spending time with friends and family (mostly)
  • and creative writing

For many years creative writing was a great escape for me. Nothing serious, just a way to let my imagination take over for a time, and distract me from the outside world. As a teen I filled notebooks with stories, and during my post-secondary experience I continued to write, including participating in NaNoWriMo.

As an adult, I have tried to make room for this hobby that I enjoy, managing another year of NaNoWriMo, times when I was writing a bit daily, a bit weekly. But things slowed down. I try not to blame library school, but I feel like since heading out to go to school in 2012, my professional writing is all that I can manage. First with all of the essays (terrible stuff) and then since I’ve become a “Real Librarian” the amount of writing I do for work is sometimes over a thousand words a day. Now, I am not particularly talented at writing, and I don’t tend to have the patience for editing, but there is nothing quite like losing yourself in a story of your own design.

In an attempt to spend my commute to and from work thinking about non-work thoughts, I am going to try and write for at least 15 minutes a day in November. This is not the enormous commitment that NaNoWriMo is, and should be achievable for someone who is as out of the habit of wrtiing for fun as I am.

And who knows, maybe it will help with my blogging output as well.


Dealing with Stress

Despite being tagged as one of the least stressful jobs, working in a library is not without stress. Often, long hours in customer service, worries about budgets, project management, people management, programs, collections, co-workers…. and then there are the stressors of our non-working lives.

We all have days where we feel worn down, stretched too far, and wondering what we are doing.

What can we do to be less stressed?

There are lots of tips about stress management available online, but I recommend “creative activities”. Carving, painting, pottery, knitting, baking, gardening, wood working, car restoration, creative writing, scrap-booking…


  1. Repetitive tasks are relaxing (and can act as anti-depressants)
  2. Activities where you complete a project are really great when you work in an area where you don’t always get a chance to see your finished product, or where your finished product isn’t something you can touch.

Anyway, try something new, something that where you create and become less stressed!