It is a year since I shared my last insight. At the time I was in a difficult and uncomfortable situation as I could not use my right arm or hand without causing pain. My neck and shoulder complained during the day and I was unable to sleep without waking on several occasions. In retrospect it is obvious that I had become quite depressed.
Like so many of us with demanding careers, I had been leading a very busy, lop-sided lifestyle without really taking stock of the toll this was taking on both body and mind… and the quality of my personal life. I had not heeded warnings over many months – and indeed years – about the need for me to create more balance in my life. In addition to the pressures of the everyday, managing my consultancy, spending hours on end tapping the keys of a computer in my study or sitting bent over various hand held devices had taken its toll. Ironically, much of the focus of my writing and speaking during that time had referred to how important it is to take steps to counter the stresses so prevalent in our lives today!
As my last insight indicated, I found solace from many of the pressures of everyday life by enjoying relaxing in a bath. However, this was not enough to remedy the challenges of my body that was insisting I make changes in the way I was living my life.
The good news is that I was forced to stop and take stock and make decisions that would help me to heal and to create better health and more joy. I am pleased that I decided not to have surgery as recommended. Instead I made the decision to stop and take stock of what changes I could make to improve my health and reduce stress. It was obvious to me that I needed to focus on what I could do to help strengthen my body and avoid an operation. As well as committing to daily doses of muscle strengthening exercises, I also decided to avoid the computer where possible and to reduce my work commitments. By doing so I became aware of how little time I had spent enjoying simple things that I had once taken for granted such as walking barefoot along a beach, catching up with friends on a regular basis, attending body balance classes and enjoying a breadth of cultural and social pastimes with my partner.
Now, a year later, I feel renewed. My muscle strengthening exercises have been effective and I am now able to use my right arm and hand without pain though I avoid spending much time at the keyboard. The decision my partner Stephen and I made to move from living in the city to be by the bay was a wonderful prescription to improve my health. We spend much more quality time together and enjoy sharing interests and activities with family and friends.
What lies ahead? Instead of thinking it time for me to bring my career to a close, I am now keen to continue striving to make a positive difference in as many lives as I can through my work – while ensuring that I practice what I preach. Often we teach best that which we most need to learn!
What changes can you make to reduce stress and create more balance and fulilment in you life?