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I am not my work


I knew something was wrong when I walked through the corridor at work and saw that there were people queuing outside my office door. This was nothing unusual, and after all, it is a good sign when people feel they can trust you enough to see you. The problem was me in my role as a nurse and manager feeling empty with nothing left to give. The feeling stays with me for quite some time.

Recent organisational changes, time pressures and an overflowing to do list means I function. I don’t sleep well. I don’t eat well. I stop exercising. I go through my days functioning. I end up feeling constantly tired and worn out. The doctor signs me off sick with stress. And tells me that this is what I signed up for when I took a job in middle management. I am not so sure.

I recall the fleeting thought popping in and out of my head in the months prior to this, “I am not my work”. I start my journey of recovery by taking time out and exploring what I really want to do with my life. I read “The power of now” and “A new earth”. Both books help me to focus my attention in the present. I spent time re-examining my values and consider what it means to live authentically and to my true purpose. This means giving up working in middle management. It also means opening myself up to learning, making time to discover the small miracles every day has to offer and taking the time to write down at least three things I am truly grateful for each day.

I am back at work working directly with patients. I have also found new doors opening. Living in the present isn’t easy. It takes practice. A butterfly fluttered around me earlier. Watching it dance gracefully through the air, I know I would have not paid attention to it in the old days. I feel happy that my eyes and my heart is open to it now.

The hardest part in all of this? Recognising and asking for help. I believed it meant I had failed. When now I know it shows great strength and courage.

www.michaellewin.co.uk/stress-at-work-stories



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