I manage chronic neck and back pain, and I’ve learned over the last few years to implement a regular self-care plan to try to keep it at bay. I woke up with a kink in my neck that would not go away and quickly arranged for a massage and chiropractic visit to ward it off.
Only, this time it didn’t seem to help. Two days later, I woke with my neck completely seizing and in tremendous pain. It was the day before I started my new job. I rested much of the day and iced it while taking Advil, but nothing seemed to help.
My first day passed in such excruciating pain, worse than I’ve ever felt in my life. I had absolutely no mobility in my neck. Not a good start.
I’ve found the concept of self-care to be a challenge. I’m quick to help care for others who need it, but don’t always offer myself the same courtesy. But this time I did! I recognized that I was having an issue, and did take some preventive measures to try to resolve it.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the timing is quite suspect, and that this happened because I was about to go back to work in corporate, where I know in my heart I don’t want to be. Through the mists of pain, I kept thinking, “Why did this happen? What could I have done differently to avoid it? And most importantly, what can I learn from it?” I was really concerned as the last few jobs I’ve had have been pretty awful, so is this a harbinger of what’s to come?
I believe that accepting this job is the right decision for me right now, and I own that decision. However, I know that I need to pay special attention to taking care of myself to ensure that I don’t get sucked back up into “the ick,” as I call it: the politics, the drama. It’s difficult for me watching people behaving badly and not feeling weighed down by it.
Perhaps this was a warning to be sure I keep my head out of it, do the work I need to do and be done with it, making sure I don’t absorb all that goes on around me. Keep my eye on my goals, and stay at the job for what I want to get out of it without getting caught up.
Sometimes, a muscle spasm is just a muscle spasm. Or sometimes, it could be a rather unpleasant reminder that I need to stay true to myself. Ok, I recognize the lesson. Now please make it go away.