Kittens for the weary long-term care soul

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Editor-at-large
Editor-at-large

At the start of the so-called Great Recession, I was fortunate enough to have what can only be described as a dream job. For about nine months I worked for a food industry trade magazine covering new product launches and restaurant trends.

Food companies sent me endless samples of every edible product imaginable. Business trips included Starbucks junkets and Fancy Foods shows. I routinely scored press invites to events such as a Johnnie Walker whiskey tasting. It was heaven.

But like all good things, it came to an end. One day, we got the news that the company was folding our magazine, effective immediately. I was eventually offered a job with a decidedly less sexy sister trade magazine, but there were a few days where my employment was in limbo. And for those few days, I was still required to be in the office. Inconsolable, I took solace in the most well-known Internet cat meme website, I can has cheezburger, and the always charming website Cute Overload.

I passed hours of my workday giggling at cleverly captioned photos and videos of cats and other cuddly animals. Believe me, it was better than reading increasingly depressing news about looming layoffs and the mortgage crisis.

Four years later, cold, hard research confirms that the act of looking at adorable baby animals makes me a better employee.

According to researchers at Japan's Hiroshima University, viewing furry creatures periodically “not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness.” What's more, photos and videos can be used “to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.” If that's not permission to lose yourself in baby seal photos, I don't know what is.

After all, what job requires more attention to detail and thoughtfulness than working in long-term care? It takes a special person to juggle life-or-death clinical situations with concerned family members and endless piles of paperwork. Sometimes, just reading an issue of McKnight's leaves me feeling a little emotionally exhausted. But penning a short article about gun-toting clown burglars is nothing compared to the tasks our readers perform daily. If watching baby pandas on a slide or screaming goats help you make it through the day, I won't judge you for it.

In fact, we've tossed in some feline fans of McKnight's into this article to make you smile. It also reveals a truth about a certain editor's process. 

What's your favorite bad-day coping mechanism? Feel free to sound off in the comments section.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.

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