216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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While all Pioneerland Library System buildings remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curbside Pick-up of library items is available. You may place items on hold using the online catalog. Library staff will call you to schedule a pickup time once your hold is ready. Pickup days/times vary by location. Please contact your library if you have questions or need assistance in using this service.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Grace and inspiration in stressful times

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

How is your stress level?  According the American Psychological Association’s most recent annual survey on stress in America, the average adult is reporting they’re at a 4.9 on a scale of zero to ten.  Younger adults are reporting higher levels of stress than older adults.  Work and money are the top sources of stress in the U.S.  Health concerns and the current state of our nation are also major sources of stress for many. 

Many recent books tackle questions about how to manage stress and find connection, inspiration, and hope.  Litchfield Library has a number of them available to check out. 

Political stress is the subject of I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations.  Authors Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers come from different sides of the aisle, and they talk about that on their podcast “Pantsuit Politics.”  In this book they share their principles and tools for having calm conversations that prioritize relationships and understanding over policy positions and arguments. 

If your high school senior or college kid is wrapping up a challenging year, you may want to look for The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years by B. Janet Hibbs and Anthony Rostain.  This pair of child and adolescent mental health specialists offers advice on what’s normal in kids of that age and how to intervene when things aren’t going well, with the goal of a successful launch to college and independence. 

What would you tell your younger self if you could?  CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King has explored this idea in a popular segment on her program, called Note to Self.  Her new book by the same name is a compilation of the letters from the show, in which prominent people write advice and encouragement to their younger selves. The subtitle of the book is “Inspiring Words from Inspiring People.” 

Chrissy Metz is an Emmy-nominated actress known for the television series This Is Us and the new movie Breakthrough.  Her new book, This is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today, is a bestseller that combines a memoir of her life with specific lessons about things like facing fears and practicing gratitude.  Booklist magazine says, “This is more than a celebrity bio.  At its heart, it’s a how-to book.” 

Professional organizer Julie Morgenstern takes on time management in Time to Parent: Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and You.  Morgenstern creates a system for dividing parenting responsibilities into manageable tasks, and she shares tips for making the most of small chunks of time.  But beyond just creating structure, she advocates for truly paying attention to what you’re doing, whether that’s spending time with your child or spouse, working, or taking some time for yourself. 

Taking time for yourself may mean working on creative projects. Creative Quest is a new book by musician, producer, and professor Questlove, the bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  This guide to living your best creative life pulls together the lessons Questlove has learned from other artists, stories about his life experiences, and advice on concrete steps like finding a mentor and a network. 

In the powerful children’s novel in verse Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo says, “The way I see it, hard times aren’t only about money, or drought, or dust.  Hard times are about losing spirit, and hope, and what happens when dreams dry up.”  We all need to find ways to feed our spirits and our hope.