I have been back at work for a month after my leave of absence. People have been asking me how it’s been going.
In a nutshell — great!
But very different from before I went on leave.
After a month, my stamina has definitely increased. However, I still get tired and stress symptoms affect me easily. Before, I could just plow ahead and get things done. Nowadays I get a headache or feel a bit ill and have to lie down. I have discovered our Youth Center is a wonderful place to lie down and take a rest. My coworker Glen has appointed himself the Office Mom and has been known to open the door and stand there and glare at me until I stop working and meekly go to the Youth Center. I hate stopping work in the middle of the day. Jamie also comes in and gives me a look if I don’t take my day off. I appreciate the people around me who watch out for me!
Surprisingly, the thing that wears me out the most is lots of meetings. I used to love meetings! I still like meetings but if I have too many, I find my energy drained much more easily. Even though I love people interaction, for some reason it does make me a bit tired, so these days I am focusing on a lot of introvert activities and trying to get things done behind the scenes. I probably won’t do any up front stuff on the big stage for quite a while.
It is hard not to fall into my old habits of working at night, ignoring what my body is telling me. I have to set alarms that go off in the evening to remind me when to stop. Morning times are particularly good to stay at home and spend time with God and do quiet work. I feel more focused and get more done that way, and I feel like I am staying on track spiritually in trying to listen and not do so much. (Plus, I also tend to feel worse physically in the mornings so it’s a good reason to work from home!)
There are different indicators now that tell me when the stress is a bit too much — bad dreams come back, blood sugars go up, I get headaches, nausea and other stress symptoms. Since I’m still in recovery mode, I know I need to take it easy. But taking it easy for a high-driving-achiever is extremely difficult. It is frustrating that my body won’t hurry up and get back to full health!
But the good news is that I’m in a much better place than right before I went on leave — spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I trust that God is bringing me through this season to teach me many things and I am thankful for what He’s showing me.