I'm transitioning back to work after sick leave... with help from kind online strangers
By Trevor Dineen
Today marks my first week back at work in almost four months of being on sick leave. Cue applause and confetti.
If you've ever been away from something for a while, you may know that coming back to it can, in itself, be quite stressful and nerve-racking. That's certainly the case for me.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived back at work and found out that our show had created a "You Got This!" Facebook group. It basically acts as a virtual encouragement zone for anyone who may be needing a little pick-me-up. After scrolling through, I was beyond impressed with how open and honest everyone is. So I thought, why not give it a shot? Let's see if they could help me come back to work in one piece. So I posted this:
You won't believe the response I received.
Nadine Ives: Make sure you spend time outside in nature. That's where we evolved and where our brains are most at ease. Hug a tree. Seriously. (There are trees that have helped me through hard times). I'm rushing off to lead a university biology department in an hour of outdoor activities, so I'll try to respond more later. :-)
Martin Carbajal Mendoza: Before any activity or interaction, breathe very deep. Imagine your lungs to be a safe place and fill them with air and confidence. It isn't easy, but works for me. I used to be so shy I stuttered for years. Now I can go in front of people and be ok.
Janine Stannard: I'm getting back to work too, much longer break though. Self care! Just do it. The things that make you feel good, get outside, drink water. Good sleep. Just breathe.
Arise Shine: Welcome back! Remember how brave you are! You've admitted this to a group of strangers and that takes courage. You can face anything!
Michelle Den Hollander: A small tip that worked for me when I was having really disruptive, reoccurring anxious thoughts — I got a "worry rock". It was a stone from a gem store that I just really liked and fit in my pocket and that I loved to hold, nothing special. Whenever the horrible, anxious thoughts came, I just held the rock and tried to pour my negative energy into it. I basically trained my brain to stop the thoughts whenever the rock was in my hand. It was discreet, and I could take it out at meetings, at home, wherever — no one, until writing about it here, ever knew about it! Good luck, you can do this!
Lisa Begg: I'll be taking many of these suggestions to use myself. Thank you to everyone on this page for being kind and thoughtful in your responses. It makes it easier for all of us dealing with mental illness to discuss. :)