Another small adjustment

I’ve been back to work for about six months now, and it has mostly been going alright. I still am experiencing the prickling, but it hasn’t reached the levels I was feeling before. My desk is ergonomically set up, and if I drift back into bad habits, like hunching forward to read on my screen or type, it definitely spikes the feeling. But now I can sit back comfortably and getting my spine aligned properly seems to make the prickling calm down.

My therapist’s suggestion to leave my desk every noon hour has been really important for managing it too. Luckily, with the nice weather, I have been able to go for walks. I’m hoping to increase that to going for a 30 minute jog on some days. I’ve also been getting off the bus one stop early and walking about 20 minutes home as often as I can. Some nights it isn’t realistic just because of timing (or weather) but I’ve been enjoying the wind down time, especially this spring. The route I take is lined with lilacs, apple trees and honeysuckle bushes. If anything can encourage you to breathe deeply, it’s those delicious scents. The walks also help my prickling calm down at the end of the day.

I am trying to follow my neurologist’s advice to focus on my mental and physical health right now. I’m counting my walking as physical activity (as I was finding my gym workouts were making me dizzy and nauseated, and feeling on the brink of fainting), and I’m focusing on eating proper, healthy food – good veggies, quality (pescatarian-approved) protein, fruits, water, good grains. I’m not specifically dropping any food group, but I am prioritizing plate space for colourful veggies rather than rice, potatoes or bread.

And I’m trying to approach my prickling feeling in a yogic way, almost as if I was meditating. Instead of focusing so much on the feeling, I’m trying to just notice it, take steps to calm it (as mentioned above), and then move on. I don’t want to drag it along with me anymore. I want to step past it, acknowledged, but giving it no power. This is, of course, a work in progress, because some days I just can’t do that. I’m not that much in control.

The final aspect, of which today is the first day, is that I’ve cut my work time down to 80%. Now I will work full days Monday through Thursday, and I will have Friday through Sunday off. My pay is impacted, of course, and my pension and all of that stuff, but with my previous two Leaves with Income Averaging, I’m used to my pay being lower by 20%. It’s just that I’m spreading the time off over the whole year instead of concentrating it into two months. My manager and I will keep up an open dialogue, because if it turns out that I’m trying to do 110% of the things in 80% of the time, that is counter-productive and I’ll go back to full time and try a different tactic.

So, what am I doing on my first non-work Friday?

I got up and did my morning yoga practice, ate my normal breakfast gruel (1 tbsp each of chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, and raisins, 1/3 cup of oatmeal, and a shake of pumpkin pie spice, soaked overnight in 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and topped with a sliced banana and 1/3 cup of wild blueberries). I lay down for a bit on the couch, scrolling through Fazeb√łk, to let my breakfast settle, and then I went on a 6km (slow) run – my first outdoor run since last September. It wasn’t pretty and my fitness app isn’t even recognizing my speed as a “run” (according to it, I did a “brisk walk”… :P). I’ve got my novel open behind this browser window, because I’ve had a couple of ideas for it, and this is kind of the entire reason I’m taking this time. I feel like most nights, after fighting the prickling and trying to actually do good work, I don’t have the energy to stand at my easel for a few hours or sit at my computer for a few (more!) hours to work on my stuff. So, if I’m not doing my personal hobbies, how can I be de-stressing?

A couple of wise friends (plus my husband) reminded me yesterday not to overprogram myself, and to allow whatever takes up my time to take it. And not to stress out if I don’t actually add a page or touch a paintbrush. It will happen. I will try to keep that in mind.

So that’s my little status update, course change, micromovement – call it what you may. I’m looking forward to seeing how this changes my health and well-being. :)

Here’s the song I was listening to when I started this post. :) Hopefully I’ll be posting again more regularly (but I’m not going to make that a goal!)


Catching up


The girl and me, hanging out today.

Why? Because I finally fell to the virus that has been circulating. I didn’t think I was too bad this morning, but then I said something to the pup and I shocked myself with my gravelly low voice. So I went back to bed until noon.

Lots of things have been going on lately, which have eaten into my writing time. One of these things is getting an opportunity to work for someone else temporarily, to fill a spot for 6 months. The job is really interesting, and I had a good chat with my boss during lunch yesterday about the things I’m learning in yoga. I’ll develop a whole new circle of contacts (well, mostly new – some folks I know from previous stages, like my Masters).

And my last module of yoga teacher training will happen next week. I hope my voice is okay by then… We had a short anatomy class this past weekend which was very helpful. It was an afternoon and I kind of wish we’d had the whole day for it. But it got me thinking about some of the skeletal issues that I may encounter when teaching. Next week, we’ll be doing our practica and teaching each other some classes. I still need to develop a couple more classes. Homework!

Heading a bit further back in the time since I last posted, the girl pup turned into a Beast and she killed two little rabbits when we were out for a walk last week. Thus I was faced with her true nature as a predator, and I also had to deal with the decidedly-not-fruit of her labour. Luckily, I was able to summon up some of the biological detachment necessary to make sure the poor little things were truly dead, but not so much that it didn’t haunt me for a few days. I do keep a vegetarian lifestyle, after all. But I put the bodies somewhere I hoped that scavengers would find them and profit from them. They are gone from that spot now, so I’ll assume that’s what happened. Meanwhile, the girl Beast has been quite pleased with herself and has been on The Hunt ever since. Rodentia of the city, beware.

Lastly, but not leastly, I had come to a decision in the summer that the girl pup needs to have more time and space than what I am going to be able to give her. It was a difficult decision because I feel like I’m failing her in some respects. But on the other hand, this is not unlike a decision about when “it’s time”. Just that I’m finding her a better place to live, where she can be happy and fulfilled in the way I intended, before life intervened. Last night, we interviewed a family from the country and she really bonded with them right away. She even sat in the daughter’s lap, something she hasn’t done with me in a while. We have found our winner.

So we’re working out the timing and whatnot, but my days with my girl are numbered. I won’t go visit her because I don’t want to confuse her. She needs to consider this family her new pack, and not think of them as temporary until she gets to come home. I think she’ll do well. They seem great.