Discussion Group: Healthy Librarian, Cultivating Workplace Wellness

Led by Michelle Eberle of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. A customizable”Spring into Health!” handout from this discussion group is available at http://nnlm.gov/ner/training/material/SpringintoHealthGuide.doc

ALA is going to have more programs to promote wellness among librarians.

Why does Workplace Wellness matter?

 Answers from group:

 We’re subjected to a lot of ill people. Flip side of wellness – all of the time not spending in the workplace due to illness, that’s lost productivity. If you have healthy atmosphere at work, you’re more likely to want to go into work. Increases job satisfaction.

You’re more productive with the patron if you fell well. 

International Labour Organization – Job stress will cost the economy more than $200 billion per year in sick days, lost productivity, etc. 

Examples of formal workplace programs.

10,000 steps: – you get a pedometer and you try to do 10,000 steps per day. People get competitive about it.

 Local newspaper had a Big Loser program. 

Company had workshops on different health in the workplace topics. 

College sponsors wellness fair. Neck massages, back massages. Blood work. Michelle’s organization will go to Health Fairs to do presentations on Medline Plus. 

Free yoga program at one library. Complementary to alternative medicine treatments. 

One City where they allow employees to join the gym for free.

 Ergonomic analysis for your staff. Make sure desk is set up right. Stress management programs, healthy Mom programs. 

On-site fitness programs, may not be realistic, but leave a place where people can park their bikes if they bike to work. 

What are some strategies we can implement to encourage wellness?

Make sure people take their breaks. Michelle – “that is one of the most important things.” 

One person who puts mouse on a slight slant. It made a lot of difference in pain at the shoulder. 

Get staff to trust each other to use humor in the workplace. 

Staff started walking at lunch – even though don’t walk together, there’s an element of peer pressure where we encourage each other to take our walks.

Michelle – Starting a health kick at work. Give yourself 15 minutes a day for yourself. I started with swimming.

Walking challenge for women. www.womenshealth.gov/woman/

Michelle – important to celebrate successes at work. Cultivate friendships at work. 

There’s a difference between health-promoting workplace and workplace wellness. 

Health-promoting workplace

  • Trust
  • Willingness to share
  • Communication
  • Work/family balance
  • Job security
  • Friendly and helpful with co-workers
  • Job autonomy – being able to be independent in what you’re doing.
  • Value and respect
  • Praise for a job well done.

 Strategies to incorporate to keep up with changes in the profession

  • Support for going to conferences
  • Online workshops
  • Designating and requiring time to do training or keep up on professional workshops.

HealthCheck Tools on Medline Plus

Michelle led a Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise where you tense muscles for 10 seconds and then relaxing. Try to work on all the muscle groups – hands, shoulders, necks, feet. This is something you can do at your desk and nobody will notice. 

She also described how to do the Relaxation Response exercise. 

Also led us in some stretching exercises that can be found at UCLA Exercises.


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