This stress wreaked havoc on my life. You know those New York Times articles that tell you cautionary tales of workplace stress and the impacts on your health? It's all true. The crappy things that happen to you when your body simply cannot process the stress hormones any more? It's real. Sleeplessness. Irritability. Pounding headaches for days. Unexplained muscle aches and tension. Appetite changes. Etc. Etc. Etc.
It sucked. I never knew you could feel this way without actually being sick with the flu or some other miserable ailment. For 2 months I suffered. I don't use that word lightly. It's exactly how I felt as I was operating on basically no sleep each night and living on caffeine. I was barely making it through the work day; and all the while my mind was racing as I put out fires at work, tried to quell the anxiety of 100 team members as our contract slowly ticked down to its final days without word of renewal, and managed new client challenges each day. Sure it is/was just a job but somewhere I couldn't shake the feeling that I was responsible for all of these people's jobs...and general well-being. I felt anxious and worried most days. No matter how long I worked or how many emails I responded to while I brushed my teeth before bed, it was never enough. Some mornings I would sit on the edge of my bed after getting out of the shower and sob, wondering when I would feel rested and normal again. After a period of time, I simply couldn't do it anymore. I had to pull the ripcord and get out before I lost more of myself.
|Fun with Mom at the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach|
Half Marathon expo...also the weekend that I decided
I needed out!
I made this decision with the same pride, ownership, and candor that I have carried with me throughout my career. It is unequivocally the right thing for me. There are about a billion reasons that I know this but most of all, I never wavered once I made it and the real "me" is slowly resurfacing. The veil of frustration and fatigue is gone. I feel excitement with the opportunities that each new day bring...a chance to try a new recipe, the opportunity to check off another training run en route to my fall marathon, the dinner table conversations that I eagerly look forward to with my husband...those joys along with a million others are back. I have energy to run (and run well) again. I am more emotionally available as a wife, daughter, and friend. I feel good again. Christine, the blogger, the baker, the devoted friend, the dedicated runner, and many other parts of me are back.
My hope in sharing a part of my personal life is that others will reflect more on the demands of the workplace and specifically, the corporate world. Not necessarily as women or men, mothers or fathers, early career or late career, but as people. As someone deeply passionate about topics like work-life balance, workplace wellness, and gender equity in the workplace, I believe this is critically important. Some elements of life transcend workplace labels; well-being is one of those things.
On a lighter note, I look forward to reconnecting with my fellow runners. Marine Corps Marathon is less than 4 weeks away so this new outlook couldn't come at a better time! Have a great day!