A Blessing in Disguise

It’s been (almost) two weeks since my unplanned siesta from life. Over the past week, I’ve come to realize things that I seem to have forgotten with work and training.

I’ve written about it before, but I am someone who rarely sits still. Even on days off, its rare that you will find me sitting and watching a movie or reading a book or just sitting to relax. Unless I am sick, I’m always on the go. Work days I’m on my feet for 13-16 hrs. My days off when I am not training I am baking and decorating. I sit when I eat dinner, and when I head to bed. But I’m always on the go. There is no time to relax.

Then, there is the element of anxiety and work stress. It is normal for nurses and hospital staff to be stressed nowadays. Hospitals are businesses, and people are sick. But being short-staffed (which seems to be chronic on my floor) has added the element of anxiety to my work life. Each day i go to work I don’t know if I will be allowed to go home at the time I was hired for (12hr shifts) or have to work 16hrs. I don’t mind working 16hr shifts in a crisis situation. But when you are bombarded by your workplace and their need for more nurses brings on anxiety. With this, I developed unhealthy eating patterns– at the end of a long day, grabbing anything that I saw in my kitchen to eat– or “to cope” with the day.

This surgery was like a slap in my face; it was a wake up call to really take a good look at my life and my priorities. And here are some things I’ve remembered or learned.

1. Life is too short to worry about tomorrow. I’ve spent countless nights awake worrying about what the next day at work would bring, or what would occur. How much energy I have wasted on this worry. Did it ever help my situation? No. Focus on the present and where you are. Worry (if you must) about tomorrow when tomorrow arrives.

2. Nursing is not my life. It is what I do so that I may live the life i want. Yes, I am a nurse at heart and will stop to help people in distress outside the hospital without thinking about it. But there is more to my life than working in a hospital, just like there is more to being a teacher than teaching in a classroom all day. I should stop feeling guilt for not going in to work extra shifts, because nursing is not the main purpose of my life.

3. Enjoy each day like it could be your last. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow.

4. Not being able to train for LP/ Quassy is not the end of the world. It has been tough– simply because I love to do those activities, and I adore being outside–but doing  nothing is okay too. When I first had the surgery, I was afraid of all the training I would miss afterwards when recovering. I was able to reach out to some of the triathlon community, and was amazed at how many athletes have been injured and had to take time off to heal, and they still finished the races they were training for. Yes, I have to shift the expectations i have for races from PR’ing to simply finishing, but that is okay. My body still needs time to heal, so that I can go back into training with more focus and determination than before. I know lots of women who are older than me and they are in amazing, incredible shape. Having them as role models has taught me that I still have time to become in the best shape ever. 🙂

5. I love decorating cakes. This is no secret, but during this time I’ve been able to create some cakes that I have not had time to do, and it is so much fun. Give me clean, crisp, frosted cakes and I’m happy as a clam.

A small two-tier rustic wedding cake with sunflowers

A small two-tier rustic wedding cake with sunflowers

I love sparkles!

I love sparkles!

Bunny bottom :-)

Bunny bottom 🙂

Thank you cupcakes for hospital staff

Thank you cupcakes for hospital staff

Memories of the cherry blossoms in D.C.

Memories of the cherry blossoms in D.C.

6. Nutrition is key in healing. With the stress of work, my nutrition slipped off course. I’ve steered it back to where it should be, and remembered that everything I eat is helping my body heal and become strong again. Despite not working out, I feel much healthier than I was pre-operation. My goal is to carry this healthy momentum when I return to work and my other daily activities.

7. I’m not a fan of walking.I’ve been on a couple slow walks, and I’ve realized I’m not a walker. Unless if it is in the forest or around the neighborhood when I can gawk at houses that I wish I owned, I prefer running. Walking simply takes twice the time to get to your destination as running. Ohh well. I’m sure I’ll be able to run soon.

8. There is nothing more important than family/good friends. I don’t know what I would do if I did not have them around. These people are what matter in life. Your race time, work, life obligations don’t matter. It is who you surround yourself with that matters.

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