Tomorrow 11am to 7pm Food Trucks @ Phoenix Park

Staff Notes

STAFF NOTE: On Stress and Desk Toys

‘stress reducing’ and ‘creativity enhancing’ can go hand-in-hand

Nick Meyer |

In some sort of work-life crisis, I bought a couple of new desk toys. One is a big “CMYCube” – a big hunk of heavy plastic with transparent color facings of cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) on each side that shift hues as they rotate. It somewhat speaks to the magazine industry, as Volume One is printed using those three colors plus black, thus the concept of CMYK printing (they use “K” and not “B” because black is referenced as the “key” color).

     Anyway, the other toy is a batch of “Speks” magnetic fidget putty. Basically a bunch of tiny, metallic, odd-shaped stackable magnet rocks. These two new toys add to an artful collection of another half dozen sculptural and supposedly “stress reducing” or even “creativity enhancing” toys on the bookcase behind my desk. For me right now, I’m most interested in the former, though the latter is always welcome, too.

     That’s because, while Volume One did celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, I will now admit that this year has likely been my least favorite of all 20. I won’t bore you with the variety of reasons why. You might think the two previous COVID-era years (’20 and ’21) would be the worst, and you’d be right, as those come in second and third place. 

     So despite a long list of things to be thankful for at home, at work, and in the community, these have been a trio of challenging and stressful years – not just for me, I know, but for a lot of us. Certainly there are many ways to deal with the real and perceived stresses of life, several of which I’ve actively pursued. Time outdoors, frequent exercise, attempts at mindfulness exercises, and more. But heck, I might as well spend some cash and throw a couple of new toys at it too, right? After all, the sales copy promised it would help. 

     So if you need me, I’ll be over here at my desk playing with toys – at the very least, avoiding responsibility for a moment or two. Or maybe at best, feeling the weight of the world melting away. If it works, I’ll let you know.