Self-Care Sunday: OCL Staff on How They De-Stress in Isolation


Sunday’s here again and today we’re checking in with our staff at the Oberlin College Libraries to see how they’ve been managing stress during the pandemic. Let’s see what they have to say!

One thing we heard over and over is that our library staff loves food! Cooking and baking is a great way to relax and unwind. Outreach and Programming Librarian Eboni told us she’s been baking “A LOT”, while Facilities and Operations Assistant Bill says that eating healthy is what keeps him feeling great. And if you’re looking for culinary inspiration, why not pop over to the Bon Appétit YouTube channel? They have lots of great videos and, did you know? One of their hosts, Chris Morocco, is an Obie? Class of 2003!


Another big recommendation from our staff is exercise (Perhaps to burn off all the calories from that delicious home cooking). Daily walks are a must for many staff members, especially those with dogs (And, hey, at least our pets are happy we’re in isolation!). Science Librarian Alison suggests walking near water and woods, if you can, to enjoy the spring flowers and bird songs. And we have quite a few practicing yogis in our group. Art Librarian Barb recommends the app Down Dog, which is free until May 1st, for solo workouts. Or, if you’d like some one-on-one time with our very own resident yoga instructor, Head of DMS Tim (RYT-200 certified) is offering to give Obies freebie advice and classes while we’re all stuck at home. A big thank you to Tim for such a generous offer! (Contact Tim at


Well, if all that working out has got you tired, we have some folk who have great advice for keeping you entertained. Preparations Assistant Patty recommends the newest Animal Crossing game. She says “It helps me to relax and even allows me to connect online with others in my family that I can’t see in person. It is basically a peaceful game until the tarantulas show up (which doesn’t happen often).” Meanwhile, Science Library assistant Jennifer prefers old-school gaming. She finds it “helpful to plan special events at home during all of this - formal dinner night, game night, poker tournament, etc. Put it on our calendar, and make it something to look forward to.”


Of course, we wouldn’t be a library if we didn’t have knitters on staff! Outreach and Programming Librarian Eboni and catalogers Lindsey and Faith all listed knitting as a favorite way to unwind. Lindsey recommends getting a Ravelry account if you don’t have one already! And if yarn isn’t your thing, Reserves and Media Manager Michael suggests stamp collecting, and Information Literacy and Student Success Librarian Alonso recommends making art. He enjoys drawing, sketching, and coloring. Science Library assistant Jennifer also enjoys drawing and coloring, but she prefers to do it digitally…. She suggests downloading paint by number apps!


As you might expect, binge watching Netflix  is high on the list of ways to relax (and all the other streaming services, of course! HBO is actually offering a bunch of free movies and shows until the end of April). Multiple people suggested rewatching all of the Lord of the Rings movies. Sounds like we have some Tolkien fans at OCL!  


Other great advice includes watching livestreams of your favorite musicians or taking an online course. Music cataloger Faith says she’s been “taking dance classes through the Beck Center at Home classes! They are free!” Follow #BeckatHome on Instagram or Facebook to see what they’re offering. 

We also have quite a few Buddhists on staff who say their faith is helping during this time at home. Conservatory Public Services Librarian Kathy finds Buddhism, along with a good laugh, is what she needs- “I’ve been looking for more humor. Being a Buddhist, I have really been enjoying the  FB group Buddhist Humor. It’s fabulous!!”

With that, we’ll leave you with a few more words of wisdom from the OCL staff. We hope our advice, tips, and suggestions have been helpful! From our homes to yours, we hope you are all safe, happy, and healthy!

“Staying on a ‘normal’ schedule seems to be the best way to handle stress for me. I also enjoy napping, reading, spending time with my family. It’s so nice to have time together without our regular activities.”– Sara, Cataloging and Metadata Assistant

“Remember that, while things could still get worse, everything always changes. Eventually the situation we’re all in now won’t be the same. Take it one day at a time. Do things you enjoy, take time to avoid news outlets, and relax.”–Tim, Head of Discovery and Metadata Services

“Being grateful for simple things like waking up to another day, naturally occurring timeless awareness, giving and receiving love with other sentient beings. Singing. Making any old music from scratch.”–Facilities and Operations Assistant, Bill

Image sources:

Get Discount