First day back to work and I spent my lunch break in nature with my camera

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Being off last week, recovering from shingles, left me with lots of time to reflect on how I ended up here in the first place.

Stress.

For an entire year, I have been saying that I’m fine. I meant it too. I was lucky enough to still have a job, a roof over my head, an amazing roommate (I’m looking at you Mom 😉 ), a backyard oasis that borders a river, nature a-plenty, and many hobbies that keep me busy.

But as the weeks turned into months, and months into a year, and then a second year, I could feel myself becoming weary, tired and even anxious. I ignored it because, well, because I’m in a pretty good place compared to a lot of other people. I felt like I didn’t deserve to feel these feelings because nothing bad really happened to me. Sure, I had to give up my yearly solo photography trip, and travel of all kind, hanging out with my sister in her hot tub, holidays with the whole family, and the freedom to get in the car, drive to Ottawa to see a movie or go to a restaurant.

Oh, how I miss this place. Lansdowne Park/TD Place, Bank Street, Ottawa. 2021

They don’t seem like big things but, over time, the little things add up.

A week off with blisters popping on my back was enough for me to realize that I was stressed and needed to find a way to de-stress. Imagining I was my client, I would suggest they try a form of meditation – if meditation doesn’t suit you, then try a walking meditation or find something you enjoy that keeps you in the moment, and relaxed. I’d also suggest yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong. Next would be journaling, writing, blogging, getting what’s on your mind out of your mind, by putting it on paper and burning it, or typing it in a document and deleting it. Eat well. Drink lots of water. Get plenty of sleep. Spend time in nature, as much as possible, even in the rain, snow, and cold. Sing, Dance, Laugh, Love and do something you love, every single day.

Thanks to a timely e-newsletter from Connexions Resource Centre, I signed up for a free pocket-Tai Chi series and a free yoga session. Tai Chi was this week and very enjoyable. This afternoon, I found myself lying on the floor, doing a yoga pose. I was there maybe 3 or 4 minutes and in that time I could feel the tension melt from my body and I recognized that familiar Zen moment I used to enjoy when I practiced yoga regularly. All of that from just one pose!

Now that I’m back to work, I realize how important it is for me to allow myself time away from the computer. It’s kind of funny, prior to the pandemic I teleworked three days out of five. Those three days I felt I needed to be tethered to my laptop 8 hours a day and I felt guilty, like I was cheating the system, if I took a break. The two days I was in the office, I had meetings away from my laptop. I had chats with colleagues in the kitchen, the hallway, the elevator…I would go outside for a walk, browse the shops on the main concourse…I wasn’t tethered to my laptop for 8 hours. My manager, who teleworked full-time before the pandemic, reminded us that we aren’t expected to be tethered to our computers all day, it’s not realistic, nor is it healthy. But being a graphic designer, the type of work I do is…tethered to my laptop. This is something I need to work on.

So, now that I’m back at work and the shingles rash is scabbed over and slowly drying up, the occasional itch reminds me that I need to spend my lunch break outside, in nature. Today, I found myself sitting on the lawn taking pictures of tulips and dandelions. I also picked dandelions to dry for tea and balms. It was the most enjoyable time I have had in a while. At least until the black flies swarmed! Not only did I get some nice shots of the tulips, I also had a good amount of dandelions to dry, and I felt energized going back to work.

Baby steps.

Cool clouds

All photos are copyrighted by Wanda Quinn. ©WQuinn 2021