Limping towards the end of the year

I’ve been dragging around a lot of aches and pains for too long. I’ve had a sinus infection that has lingered for months as as a legacy of my extended bout with bronchitis. This past weekend I finally saw a doctor (walk-in clinic) who ordered another round of antibiotics, this time a bit stronger than the first (in September). I haven’t lost a day of work, but I arrived home feeling exhausted (for multiple reasons, read below).

But that’s not all.

The week before Thanksgiving, my wet hiking boots slipped on the stairs and as I fell back I tried to break the fall and jammed my left hand, as I caught a strut on the banister between my ring and middle fingers, transferring the force of the fall up my hand, wrist and forearm. The force of the fall was concentrated on the ulna side of my forearm. For two weeks, I’ve been applying heat and cold, taking Aleve and ibuprofen to get swelling. Very slow progress, and the flexibility and dexterity of my hand was compromised. I have not been able to go to any yoga requiring weight bearing on my left arm except restorative. No chatarunga, no downward-facing dog. I finally saw my body worker, Howard Rontal, who spent a hour breaking through the stiffness and seemingly frozen muscles and ligaments. It took a couple of days for me to notice the change for the better.

The weight of working

Three weeks into my new job at DMI, and I can’t say that I’ve had any major stumbles. But I tend to be in a state of hyperalert, constantly assessing the environment for potential risks (absurd), anticipating tasks (relatively few) and feeling like an alien in a foreign land (everyone speaks techie geek and my command of the dialect had fallen into disuse). All this sensory saturation takes its toll on my body and mind, already weakened by disease, injury and lack of exercise. I keep telling myself that I have to take care of myself, but I feel the duty to concentrate on my job responsibilities. With each passing week, I become less of a newcomer and more a full-fledged employee who has to deliver. Thankfully, the coming Holidays means that the pace has shifted, but still have to deliver a capability statement by Christmas Eve.

A non-work friend asked me over an early morning coffee, “Why do you talk as if this was a job interview?” Because my mind is running in “job performance” mode, weighing my words, cautious about over-promising but hesitant to appear that I am shirking new challenges, constantly in a balancing act.

Photo: by Michael Smith at Thrive Yoga
One foot forward

All these factors have meant that I am out of sync with my normal routines of self-care (meditation, pranayama, yoga, exercise, reading). I tell myself I have to take care of myself, but I don’t have the reserved times and spaces to do what I normally do. The Holidays and family visits also throws in disruptions of routines. At best, I do breathing exercises when I am driving to the office or do my restorative routines in the evening. I know that I have to get back in the groove, but that means that the first couple of weeks, even months is going to be tough to recover stamina and strength.