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!)


One week down

First week back at work is done! I’m still in catch up mode, having come back to my job being… re-allocated, which was a surprise. I have far fewer files than I did when I left. I’m not sure what that means overall, but time will tell. Immediate benefits I can see include being less stressed, being able to sleep better, eat better and potentially not be sick all the time. Not a bad thing.

I was able to do yoga twice this week. Once as an evening practice on my first day, to help with the assimilation of the new information and to cool me down before bed (I did have insomnia the night before my first day back so I was pretty exhausted). And then I did get up and do a morning practice, which was nice but happened between 6:09 and 6:30 am. I even meditated! And didn’t fall asleep!

The best part of my first week was the number of my colleagues who so happily welcomed me back. I felt very loved from all the welcomes and smiles, hugs and laughter. And stunned looks sometimes because they couldn’t believe nine weeks had gone by already. At one point, someone said, “No, it’s only been like four weeks – you shouldn’t be here!” I would have happily taken another five weeks but alas, that wasn’t the deal I made with the boss. ;)

One point I overlooked as I was engaging in this arrangement was that since I’m working 80% this year I also receive 80% recompense – including vacation time. Which makes sense, but it didn’t really hit home until I saw the numbers in my file. So that’s impacting some plans I have, because about 40% of my vacation time will be dedicated to my next yoga module, leaving not a whole ton of days for other things like trips with my boyfriend and seeing both families at holidays and such. So that’s resulted in me having to change some plans I’d agreed to back in February, before I knew how all this was going to work.

This weekend is a big step because as of tomorrow, I will officially be without a landline for the first time in my life. My Internet and everything will go bye-bye and I’ll be getting hooked up to Teksavvy on Monday. Tech-free weekend! Maybe some painting and writing will be in order. :)

(Also, I’ll have to go in search of Internet if I’m going to blog this weekend – we’ll see!)