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Vol. LX, No. 17
August 22, 2008
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Give Me a Break!
Campus Refuges And Quiet Nooks


  The grounds of the Lasker Center, Bldg. 60  
  The grounds of the Lasker Center, Bldg. 60  

Hey, you’re not getting paid to goof off.

Or are you?

If you ask why rest is essential to human health, you won’t get a short answer. For starters, if you focus on the role rest plays in the workplace, research shows that even short breaks can reduce error and improve performance.

Moreover, if you don’t take a breather, repeated activities such as typing or pipetting can put you at risk for repetitive motion injury. Experts agree: stretching can help. Even a mini-walk favors your health.

As for the power nap, it improves memory and productivity, but…sleeping on the job? Problematic.

Alongside OEODM program analyst Carolyn Hunter, Noble shows his special NIH sculpture featuring the agency’s logo and a double helix. from the creekbed looking west towards Bldg. 1 The CRC aquarium’s tropical beauties in 1SW’s admitting area

Above, from l: The NIH chapel welcomes all; from the creekbed looking west towards Bldg. 1; the CRC aquarium’s tropical beauties in 1SW’s admitting area


View from the bridge on the CRC mezzanine, looking east towards Bethesda Naval Medical Center
View from the bridge on the CRC mezzanine, looking east towards Bethesda Naval Medical Center
If you stand in the doorway of the patient library, you’ll be facing this paperback book exchange in the CRC’s seventh-floor mezzanine.
If you stand in the doorway of the patient library, you’ll be facing this paperback book exchange in the CRC’s seventh-floor mezzanine.
Need a break? Vacation hours already spent? Gas prices too high? The Bethesda campus offers tranquil areas where you can contemplate your research, your purchase order, your poster, or just clear your head.

• The 3.25-mile perimeter walk around the campus takes about an hour and is becoming a perennial favorite.

• While you’re out, you may notice the blue and white signs at the limits of mowing. These mark sanctuaries for birds; 50 species have been spotted either nesting or feeding on campus. Ground nesters make their homes down in the weeds, so please don’t wade in, but you can stroll along the peripheries.

• On the east side of Bldg. 33 is a wooded area bordering the creek. Under the shade of huge old willows is a footbridge where you can “watch the river flow.”

• Another footbridge crosses the creek near Bldg. 21’s parking lot.
The terrace between NLM (Bldg. 38) and Lister Hill (Bldg. 38A)
The terrace between NLM (Bldg. 38) and Lister Hill (Bldg. 38A)

• The rose garden outside Bldg. 16 (also known as the “Stone House”) leads to stone benches and shady fir trees.

• The grounds of the Lasker Center, Bldg. 60, were designed for contemplation (also known as the Cloisters, the building once served as a convent).

• Do lunch al fresco: Outdoor picnic tables are available at various spots, including up against the fence (but near the creek) on the NLM lawn.

• Check out the Paul Rogers Plaza on the Bldg. 1 lawn; the courtyard on the west side of the CRC; the terrace between NLM (Bldg. 38) and Lister Hill (Bldg. 38A); and the plaza bordered by Bldgs. 6B, 31C and 33. There is plenty of room to stroll or sit, never mind the whirr of rooftop air handlers.
On the east side of Bldg. 33 is a wooded area bordering the creek where you can “watch the river flow.”
On the east side of Bldg. 33 is a wooded area bordering the creek where you can “watch the river flow.”

• Turning indoors, you’ll find the chapel, on the seventh floor of the CRC, “open for prayer and meditation for all.”

• Next door to the chapel is the patient library, with a striking view from the seventh floor’s northwest corner. While its mission is to serve patients and their families, staff too may peek in.

• The patient library also offers a paperback book exchange in the mezzanine adjacent to the chapel. Bookshelves, armchairs and coffee tables make the space conducive to reading or contemplation. This light and airy spot overlooks the CRC courtyard to the west and the atrium to the east.

• The CRC also provides similar seating areas (minus the paperbacks) on the mezzanines of floors 2 through 6. The pedestrian bridges linking the CRC to Bldg. 10 are also respite areas.

• Speaking of books, don’t forget the two other libraries on campus. The NIH Library in Bldg. 10 has open stacks (open to employees, that is) and also has a new look: comfortable seating with lots of study space. NLM’s two reading rooms are also open to staff, but stacks are closed. Also, in its first-floor lobby, NLM has a choice exhibition space (currently on view: an exhibit on global health). Some ICs also provide their own mini-libraries for staff.

• Watching decorative fish can be soothing. The CRC’s aquarium (in a corridor off the main lobby) has some tropical beauties.

The campus abounds with opportunities for quiet contemplation. Take your next mini-“staycation” at the one nearest you. NIHRecord Icon

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