Today was the first day back to work. Actually, although our office was officially closed for the holidays, I worked a couple of days here and there. I had planned to get a lot of organizing done as well as some planning for 2017. I even did some work at home over this past weekend. But there was something different about today. I could feel it building up last night as I watched football while I was thinking about work I should have been doing. Nothing was urgent but I just felt like getting some things done.
I felt very much like I did in college on those weekends spent at home. Going home from college was not a big adventure. The drive took less than an hour although it seemed a long way away. (In fact, back in 1964 when we used to drive up to Ann Arbor to visit my brother, we always had to have a full tank of gas and leave early enough to get home before dark.) I remember how I used to pack up my books and my dirty laundry and head for home on Friday afternoon. I would be home for Friday night dinner and then spend a relaxing weekend of sleeping in, watching TV, letting my mom do my laundry, and seeing friends who might be in town from other schools. By early afternoon on Sunday, I would feel the stress of having to go back to school without ever opening a book or doing an assignment. There was always Sunday night back at the dorm. Yeah, right. Monday morning would arrive and it was back to class, feeling unprepared with more assignments piling up.
I didn’t get much sleep last night partially because I napped on Sunday and yesterday. But I was also thinking a lot about work and all of the things I didn’t do. During the morning, I had a nervous stomach and couldn’t relax. So many things to do. In my job, I often feel like the circus performer who would spin plates on sticks. Keep them all spinning, don’t let anything fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but I have to stay focused. So that’s what I did.
I took a few minutes to get relaxed by taking some deep breaths and quieting my mind. I put on some movie soundtrack music (A Beautiful Mind, How to Train Your Dragon, Seabiscuit) which relaxes me. Then I got out my to do list and went to work. I was able to do the things I wanted to do and even managed to get a few new plates spinning.
It turned out to be a good day. I identified my feeling of anxiety and used my coping skills to deal with it. After re-reading what I have written, I think work-life balance must be another thing for me to address!