Working

So having a job is pretty good. I did have a lot of worries when I started, but I’m managing quite well all things considered.

I have a forty minute commute (if all goes well, no traffic jams or weather), so every morning at 7:30 finds me hurtling down the highway towards the suburb where the office is located. Those were my first two worries – that I would not be able to get up in the morning, and that the commute would be too difficult.

But, not sleeping well has it’s benefits I guess. I’m often awake around six anyway, and where previously I would have gone back to sleep, now I just get up. My new diet has really really helped me in this regard. I used to eat cereal and have lots of coffee – those are complete no no’s, because they make me fatigued. Now I have my pumpernickel toast with peanut butter and a berry smoothie – lots of protein, few carbs. One tiny tea cup of coffee is allowed. Then I turn on my trusty goLITE for extra wakefulness.

I’m even squeezing in a tiny yoga practice in the morning.

Then I often quite enjoy the commute, especially now that I know where to go. The second day, I got lost, and was half an hour late for work. I often listen to an audio-book, thus avoiding the doleful news of the day. The book is about an Italian restaurant and the family that runs it, and I’m really enjoying it.

Work is quite strict – apparently they keep an eye peeled for being there on time, and sitting at the desk a full eight hours. Lunch is short and unpaid, and any internet usage not for work is strongly frowned upon. It’s head down and do their work, full-time.

I have had problems in the past with my mood at work. I’ve been too tired and depressed to be able to concentrate for hours at a time, or I’ve been anxious. This time, I notice a big difference on the depression front. I’m not that depressed.

I think it’s because of my diet change. No wheat and no caffeine is huge. I was trying to prop myself up with caffeine in the past – big mistake. That just leads to energy spikes and crashes all day long. Also, snacks of carrot sticks, nuts and dried fruit, and regular fruit. That’s all. Then salad for lunch. This is key I think. I used to desperately need a nap after lunch, but no more. It’s all about the food, IMO. It’s actually an amazing difference.

Becuase I’m seeing such a difference, I’m motivated to keep at this diet. I’m as tempted as anyone else by a nice fluffy muffin with a fragrant cup of java as mid-morning treat – but I know if I have that, I’ll feel bad for the rest of the day. That’s a big motivator. It’s nothing to do with ‘being good’ or even ‘being healthy’ in any abstract way.

Co-workers seem decent so far. One is kind of bossy, but also helpful. The other is an introvert, which is fine by me.

I am having a lot of anxiety at work. A problem that I have is that my system is primed to react with massive stress to almost anything. That’s the PTSD in action. So for instance, I was thrown a document my third day there, and it had a tight deadline, and I had to format it using a very complex template with fields and headers and footers that were complex, with a lot of stuff I didn’t yet understand. So trying to do this, really fast, before I understood what was going on, and having to ask for help all the time, threw me into a state of anxiety where I just never calmed down all day long.

I am very prone to that, as a I said. My system over-reacts. Then when I have to ask for help, or interact with people, I know I don’t come across well. I likely seem over-emotional. But, I do know it’s a problem, and I’m working on calming down. But what can happen, is people can start judging me as stupid or incompetent, when I’m not.

So that’s a problem. I am working on it. It’s very difficult, like trying to tame a run-a-way horse. But I bet it can be done. The trick is to keep pumping out good work, so I won’t be judged too harshly for my lapses.

I also grab ten minutes every afternoon to take a ‘walk’ – which means I stroll out across the parking lots to the field, then back to the highway, then scurry back into the warmth inside. I feel I need to get some sunlight- it’s pretty well dark by the time I get home. There are no official breaks, but I feel that my ten minutes is OK.

All in all, it’s good to have work. I’ve got structure to my day, which I desperately needed, some people to interact with, and no money worries for the present. Pretty decent.

Picture: Neighbourhood roses in November

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9 comments
  1. Hi!Sounds like lots of things are going well for you. Eating a good diet makes a big difference. I find that lots of healthy food and managing the coffee makes me function better.Don't worry about the nerves and stuff. Everyone will assume it's because you are new to the place and want to do a good job and fit in and so on and so on.I've been freelancing for a long time and have seen many freelancers who are stressed in the first few weeks. Sometimes I'm the guy that's been the source of the stress because I've been responsible for making sure they come up to speed and learn what needs to be learnt.Just remember no-one knows what is going on inside your head and everyone will guess at something that they can relate to instead. If they see you having a bad day they'll assume you are stressed about work or soemthing….In my first few weeks on a new contract I always work on the basics:1. Work the hours required2. Get to know the people and the culture. "Team Player"3. Learn what I need to learn4. Be seen to be delivering stuff – doing the work that's required to a good standard.

  2. Congrats on the new job Ellen. I hope things work out well for you there. High anxiety when we jump into anything new is going to be normal for us, it takes time to condition yourself to the new schedule and environment. Keep up the positivity – all the best, bb.

  3. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,Your description of anxiety at work really struck a chord. That has really made me think, especially when you talked about possibly being seen as over emotional. That was me at a time when I did not have anxiety problems- or at least now I can see that was not the case, I was just ignorant to it. That has really made me think so many thanks for that.The diet does seem to have made a big difference. As you said that is incentive enough to keep going with it. I'm glad things are going OK for you are the moment. Its always difficult to start a new job at the best of times do I hope things get better as you bed yourself in. Your routine does appear to be doing you a lot of good.You have done incredibly well in your pursuit of a new contract and now doing even better with the one you have found. You have many reasons to be proud of yourself Ellen. You did all this on your own and it shows just how strong you are.All the bestNechtan

  4. Em said:

    well done ellen!!!you can recognize what will help you, cutting out coffee if your over sensitive to stimulants is a good idea. it might seem a minor thing to do, but youve cracked it. im glad you got the job. you deserve a good break from the struggle when you didnt have work. really pleased for you. keep us updated on your progress.xxx

  5. Ellen said:

    Thank you dear commenters!@Mike – Yes, that's a good point especially about others not being mind readers. And the four points – keep it simple, just do these things – I like it.@BB – Thank you. Yup, time will help for sure.@therapydoc – yes, that's my favorite part…@Nechtan – why thanks (blushing). I thought of your comment that I was 'strong' the other day when work was not going well, and it did cheer me up. I think I too have always had a lot of anxiety but didn't recognize it – it's hurt me a lot in terms of how I was perceived, in the past. I'm better off now knowing what I'm dealing with.@Em (um, Alice) – Thanks Em for the kind encouragement.

  6. Susan said:

    Wow and congratulations Ellen! What good news! Such terrific insight on the food and diet. I'm so glad you have found work and feeling safer about things!

  7. John said:

    Ellen……..to have healthy food and perfect diet will sure makes you more healthy.And working is just like check out your systems energy, so keep it up and grow up more.Wish you more healthy and happy life ahead.

  8. Ellen said:

    @Susan – thanks Susan. Yes, having work is a safety issue for me – being able to provide for myself.@John – Thanks for the kind wishes John. Much appreciated.

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