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Work-Life

This week was rough physically, mentally, financially, and emotionally. It was full of obstacles, temptations, stress, productivity, high points, low points and everything in between. I suppose it’s called my LIFE.

On Tuesday, I was running late for a meeting offsite and had a bad fall in the parking garage that resulted in huge knots on my foot and elbow. It was an interesting fall because I missed the final step going down the stairs. The way I landed…almost in a yoga, cross legged pose, made it difficult for me to get up and caused me to twist my foot. Everything is still sore including my hips and knees. I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, but it was with my oncologist. He doesn’t treat falls, but did tell me I’m healthy. And you know what…they didn’t even ask me to speak at that meeting. Really?

I’ve been attempting to embark on a weight loss journey (10 pounds), but there were food temptations this week such as the ice cream social we held on Wednesday in honor of our administrative professional staff. I did partake of ice cream because I don’t believe in being overly restrictive, but me and sugar have a love thing going on. I do want to limit my sugar intake, particularly as part of my cancer recovery. We have a lot of ice cream remaining, so…well, I also partook on Thursday and Friday. I didn’t know Blue Bell has a “banana pudding” flavor. Additionally, my general work stress and busyness from a week jam packed with meetings and interviews didn’t allow me time to log my food at all and I had been doing so well with this new habit. I did bring my healthy breakfast and lunch daily. A few of us also signed up for our agency’s weight loss challenge, which starts on May 4.

I wore my social work advocacy hat to address some issues I observed with my husband’s clinical team. I politely gave them a piece of my mind. They were very responsive and addressed my concerns. I also participated in my husband’s intake for his neuropsyche exam. It was emotional for him. Unlike other weeks, dealing with his medical stuff was interwoven in my schedule daily. It did add a bit of extra stress.

We’re on one income (mine), for the time being, and I get paid once a month. Despite my good salary, money is tight, but all bills are paid. For the first time in my life, I actually bought generic maxi pads because, you know, I need them. And you know what…I didn’t have an accident. The world didn’t end. I don’t know why I even made a big deal about it. The decision was actually easy when I considered my funds.

My son was sick a couple of days. There’s pressure because he’s behind on a couple of classes. We need him to pass his classes for obvious reasons. It’s a chore getting that boy to see the benefit of education. Perhaps the mission trip we’re planning to Haiti will open his eyes.

All in all, it was another productive week for the history books. I’m glad to be in recovery mode. I will spend the weekend resting and recharging, which is what I encourage my team to do. I’m also about to get my exercise on. Work-life balance. You’ve got to work on it.

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Where do I begin with this week?

It was long, grueling, draining, deflating, and even ridiculous at times, but not without some moments of joy interwoven in there.  The fact that I haven’t written a post in a week is telling. My plan was to finish my first month as a blogger with at least 10 posts. I was so close with 9, but it didn’t happen, mostly because of how busy my work life has been. Although I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants, I did manage to take care of myself to some degree mostly due to my daily routines.

Sunday is the start of my exercise/planning week, so I made sure to pack my gym bag for the Zumba fitness class that I teach after work on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I also prepped my green smoothies, breakfast and lunch so that I would have more time in the morning to get dressed. I’m not always this good, but I do have a problem with leaving the house on time. I’ve been working really hard on this and although I didn’t leave at the time I envisioned not one day this week, I did manage to get to work by 8:45 am most days, which is an improvement.

I barely remember what transpired Monday, but I can say it was the start of my work week. I start each week day reading a daily devotional, having conversations with God and really trying to hear him. I don’t seem to keep up with the devotionals on the weekend, but I find that the office is where I really need to practice my Christianity. 

On my way home, I called my mom despite being hesitant because I didn’t know if she would be awake. I missed her voice and it has been a part of my routine for years to call her on my way home.  I’m still getting used to the change in schedule, which explains why I forgot to call earlier. I told her a few weeks ago that I would no longer call her between a certain block of time because I noticed that was her “rest” time. And I’m in for a fight if I (or any of my siblings) call it “sleeping”.  It’s, “I was just resting” or “I was closing my eyes”. To my surprise, she was awake, but she didn’t have a good couple of days due to pain. Naturally, listening to her complaints, I put my social worker hat on to help problem solve. I even went home and researched some things on the internet for her. At times, I’m convinced that I became a social worker just as so that I can help my family. Those skills do come in handy.

Tuesday was another smooth day. I started out with exercise, which I love because not only do I get to cross it off my list before I leave the house, it also pumps me up with endorphins and provides a great boost of energy. I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so I knew I wouldn’t be teaching Zumba fitness after work. My endocrinology appointment went well and the doctor even agreed to less frequent appointments.  The ridiculousness must have started sometime in the middle of the week because Tuesday sounds uneventful as I type this.

As I move to Wednesday and beyond, it’s a blur. I was experiencing a heavy dose of stress at work related to deliverables and deadlines. I found myself expressing my discontent several times, but I managed do this professionally.  I like to say that I’m raising “concerns”.  I was forewarned that what I was working on would be painful and I was starting to feel the sting.  Even though I left work feeling heavy mentally, I decided to attend the Zumba fitness class of a fellow instructor that I admire so much and love the way she moves.  I was so glad I did because I had so much fun. It relieved a bunch of stress, and had I not gone, she might not have asked me to do a favor for her which I was honored that she asked.

Thursday was a smooth trip downhill, but I managed to help “free” one of my coworkers by validating her work experience. I refrain from writing about my job specifically because, quite frankly, I don’t know if I can in this forum, but the job can be ambiguous, grueling, deflating, exhilarating, is highly politically charged, and can also be rewarding. Spending a few minutes making that connection with her was very rewarding for the both us. Up until that point, we had not had that as in depth of an interaction before, mostly because she works in a different unit, but we do see each other in passing. Again, a reminder that although I work with exceptionally smart people of different disciplines, my skills as a social worker are unique and I can make real connections with others, even though I am no longer a clinician. I don’t want to go as far as to say that my coworkers are my new “clients”, but I’m there to help.

I am going to spare everyone Friday because it was a mess!  The work stress this week was tipping the scales. I felt out of balance. After a great couple of weeks of sleeping through the night, I was up at least once and slept for only about 6 hours most days this week…not ideal. In fact, I’m writing this post in the middle of the night.  I also forgot to make my massage appointment (a birthday gift) every day despite adding an alarm on my phone to remind me.

What I didn’t do this week was tell my husband what was going on, which was intentional and different from my usual actions.  I told him about the stress and even asked him to pray for me, but I didn’t give him any specific information. It started out with me not wanting to relive what was going on, then I just did not want to verbalize the negativity.  I did verbalize my discontent while at work, respectfully and multiple times, but I didn’t want to cross that boundary of bringing that energy home.

I will now jump to the sweet stuff. I notice my writing trend of ending on a good note, like happily ever after. Seriously, I think it’s important to search for the light spots amongst the chaos and sometimes darkness. Otherwise, I would get stuck in chaos and darkness and I don’t want that. Learn and move on. That might be my new motto.  

This week, I managed to read all my devotionals, exercise 6 days in a row, had a daily green smoothie, made my weekly fitness coaching session, took all my supplements, was given some flowers, did some leisurely reading which is a favorite pass time, made some connections with people, encouraged some people, checked in with some people, and loved on some people including my family. All that and I still have Saturday!