Archives for posts with tag: take a break

I sip my coffee, lukewarm, no longer “fresh”. I find myself in a “work with what you’ve got” sort of place this morning. What I’ve got is a sink full of dirty dishes, and aquarium with an overgrowth of green hair algae, and a massive fucking headache. I mean, just being real; I ate the food that those dishes had supported. The aquarium with the algae? Mine, and I chose the placement in the room when we moved in, which has too much light for the aquarium, and as a result I have a common nuisance that is algal blooms. The headache? Okay, so, sure… it’s “mine”, and obviously I did not choose or created it by intent, but making a big deal out of it when I have had this same fucking headache (worsening somewhat over time, but yeah, same headache) since… 2014, seems pointless.

…Giving credit where it’s due though, this headache has done a first rate job of sticking around, and slowly developing a more precise location and greater likelihood of moment-to-moment continuation without relief… 2014? Fucking hell. 6 years with this fucking headache. Now that’s a fucking headache. I do find myself just a bit impressed by that, in an irritated, resigned way. I mean… if headaches had a culture of their own, surely this headache would be receiving accolades from peers, and doing the talk show circuit about its success? lol

Most moments are just moments. We create the context and significance.

Still. Here is where I am. Now is the moment I’ve got to work with. So. Moving past “it is what it is” (and it is), and reaching for one new beginning after another (and appropriate pain relief steps, however futile seeming)… I’ve either got to yield to this shitty experience, or let it go and do something else… or find a different alternative. Verbs. Choices. My results vary.

I sip my coffee. Now cold. The darkness of the room is mocked by the appearance of the morning sun, through the window shade. The whir and hum of the computer is dimmed by headphones I’m wearing, although I’m not listening to anything that requires them. I mean, besides the whir and hum of the computer, itself. I sigh out loud. One moment of many, and there is an entire day still ahead and things that want to get done. Those dishes for starters. The aquarium maintenance. Ordinary tasks, life to live – headache or not. I’ll work off some of my irritation with some exercise (Beat Saber? A walk?), and by getting some chores done. I’ll have another cup of coffee, and exchange pleasant words with my Traveling Partner.

I find myself wondering, for a moment, how more primitive humans dealt with things like massive chronic headaches? Did they feel cursed? Possessed? Did they lash out at others? What did primitive human beings know about “self-care”? Was that something they were at all concerned with? “Survival” and “good self-care” seem pretty far apart on the spectrum of things people are concerned with…

I smile when I nudge myself to consider recent lovely moments. My Traveling Partner’s birthday was lovely. I’m grateful for the joy we share. I think of a recent busy work day, and a wee dish of unexpected ice cream delivered during a meeting. I reflect on conversations shared with my partner. Goals. Expectations. Thoughts about future projects and quality of life improvements. The routine matters of living and loving. The delight of an unexpected nap, together, side by side on the recliner sofa.

…Fuck this headache! It is too small a part of my experience to get to call the shots on this day.

I finish my cold coffee, and begin again. 🙂

I don’t mean the icy mornings of autumn in my titular reference to “chill” – I mean that fully relaxed state of being in which self-awareness leads observation to a well-spring of contentment in non-attachment to specific outcomes. 🙂 The chill chill. Calm. Still. At ease.

…My coffee is long gone. My most recent break was little more than an excuse to take an Rx pain reliever. Headache. Arthritis. Tennis elbow? (Well, or something unreasonably similar.) The afternoon sunshine sneaks into the studio on an angle, illuminating a tissue box on my desk, beneath and behind my monitor(s), giving it seeming significance of some kind. It has none. It’s a trick of the light. Like this blog post; it has no import, no real gravitas, no significance, just… words. A moment. A break from routine. A few swallows of water, and a mental “reset button” pressed, moving on to another task. I am here, now. I am okay. Nothing to see here. Nothing much to share. Still…

…And I do mean “still”… I think about a friend’s recent observation that she is struggling to “get a minute of peace”. I think about other similar remarks from friends (and readers – I see you!). Me, too. Sometimes busy is far too busy, chaos is too chaotic, and breaks are a challenge to take properly. Have you tried this…? It’s a good starting point on finding that quiet moment, when quiet moments are hard to come by.

…It helps to have a good pair of headphones, too… 🙂

I pause and take my own advice for two minutes. I end up feeling more refreshed than I expect to…but also already looking forward to the end of the actual day, hours from now, when I can flop down onto my bed and just give in to fatigue quite completely. Taking more breaks, more skillfully, would probably really help with the enduring fatigue that has chased me down since daylight savings time ended. Damn I wish we’d get smarter and stop doing that.

…Work interrupts me interrupting work to grab a break. Yeah… this is more complicated than it looks, sometimes. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I push my mind firmly off the work topic, and back to writing for a couple minutes. I know taking proper breaks results in more efficient (and faster, and more skillful) work… so I also find myself, often, wondering where the hell I got the reluctance to do it…? Strange, isn’t it? It’s such an important self-care detail, too. I wonder, also, if this bit of weirdness is cultural (unique to American workers?) or regional, or universal, or… and then I find that I’ve descended into yet another work “rabbit hole” – my field of endeavor being to do with how people work, and how much time things take, and how many people a task or job will require to do well… LOL Fuuuuuuck. This is hard. Clearly I need more practice…

…Only now it’s already time to begin (work) again. 😉

This morning was definitely an autumn morning. The deck rail was frosty. The air was crisp and cold. Afternoon is approaching. The day is still cool enough to be quite obviously autumn. The sunshine has a friendly welcoming appearance, but lacks real warmth. (I’m not even complaining, just noticing.)

One sunny morning.

I take a slow relaxed approach to my break. I spend some time thinking about far away friends, old friends, distant family, and letters I mean to write. I promise myself I’ll take time for that… I am doubtful of my commitment to it, although I love writing letters. Strange.

I take a deep, relaxing breath of autumn. I taste the fall leaves and hint of forest and creek on the breeze. I marvel at the blue sky overhead. For a moment, this is more than merely “enough” – it is “everything”. 🙂

I take time to soak in the moment. Then, I begin again.

It’s a gray rainy morning. The work day stretches out ahead of me. A lovely yesterday lingers in my recollection. My second coffee sits on my desk, slowly going cold while I drink fizzy water. I pause the work for a break, and sit for a moment looking out the window at the gray sky. I inhale deeply.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

Minutes go by gently, quietly…

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

My mind wanders, I pull it back to this quiet moment.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

Sometimes, it’s just that easy. Sometimes it isn’t. I feel the tension in my shoulders begin to ease. My headache begins to recede.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

When I feel easy, contented, and calm, and a soft smile begins to relieve my furrowed brow, I prepare to get back to work. A stretch. A sigh.

…Time to begin again. I’m ready.