Dealing with stress: my pet rock

As you might imagine, starting a “real” job entails a certain amount of stress. Suddenly, your support network of graduate student friends is dispersed across the country, and you’re one of a handful of junior faculty across a smattering of disciplines. So, you have to find new outlets for your stress. Aside from climbing at the rock wall a few times a week, I’ve found that it’s incredibly helpful to have a creative outlet. This brings me to…


Henry is my pet rock.  Over Christmas, I saw this little chair that my sister had gotten my mom for her iphone, and I thought, that’s about pet-rock sized.  And then my world changed forever.

Henry’s “home” is an IKEA mini-greenhouse.  It started with the chair, part of a Galaxy S4 box (because it’s covered in wood grain paper!), a mini vase with some dried foliage, and an air plant.  And over time, I made Henry a rug (because latchhooking reduces stress), some art (pictures of my cats), a blanket (because crochet reduces stress).

And then I started buying things, like a mini laptop, a light kit, a camera.  I even made him a New Yorker to read.  So we could discuss the book reviews.  Obviously.

Then I realized there was some real estate next to Henry’s home, and suddenly we needed some patio furniture.  And a pipe.  And of course I had to make some pillows for the patio furniture (because sewing reduces stress).

Sometimes, I bring Henry to campus.  He’s got a place to chill in my office.  Hey, did you know you can order astroturf samples for free on the internet?!

He even comes bouldering with me at the campus rock wall.

Anyway, what can I say?  I’ve enjoyed creating this micro world for my pet rock.  He’s a great anecdote for class, too.  And when I take my little work breaks for five minutes, it’s fun to surf the various miniature shops on eBay and Etsy.  I mean, I’m just waiting for the perfect Henry-sized record player to come along.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of Henry.  And I encourage you to find weird, fun ways to get your head out of work-space.  This has to be better for your brain than video games, right?

Be well,
Courtney (and Henry)

PS: Moo and Sophie are great, too!

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