Thursday, February 18, 2016

Newly unemployed

This is shaping up to be a busy first week off.  As a newly unemployed citizen (my four-month temp job having ended last week), I have come to the realization that I have missed being at home. I missed the flexibility the stay-at-home mom gig afforded me. I missed being able to do things for my family without it involving major contortions in the time-space continuum (or is that space-time?). I missed working out when and where I wanted to. I even missed the dentist.

Well, that last bit is not exactly true, but I did - literally - miss the dentist while I was working. This week I made up for that, as well as a few other mundane chores that are necessary to one's health and welfare but are harder to schedule when working: dentist, haircut, dermatologist. I finally even managed to get my son in for his well-child visit, just a couple of months late.

I know it is possible to schedule all of this while working, but the temporary nature of my employment definitely lent itself to me feeling like it was just as easy to put things off until I was once again gainfully unemployed as it was to juggle everyone's schedules and get 'er done.

Aside from doctor's visits and such, I am also starting to take stock of my training plan and figure out what I need to do to get into shape for this year's big running goal - the 100-Miler. So far, I have planned for a massage and a running gait analysis to see where my weak spots currently are. I did this a couple of years ago and found it helped tremendously. With the legs feeling a bit wonky lately, it seems as good a time as any to go in for a tune-up. Who knows, maybe I've let something get lazy. It wouldn't surprise me. Aren't we always looking for the easy way out?

Today also saw me go to my first yoga class in, oh, a pretty darn long time. I generally stray away from yoga in the summers when the kids are off of school, and I think I was just starting to get back into it when I got the temp job in October. So, I've had a good four months of living in the stretch-free zone. And that has not been good. I realized a long time ago that I need regular stretching to keep my body feeling happy and healthy, so not going to yoga - and not even stretching much at home - over the past few months has taken its toll.

Heading into yoga this morning, I really had no clue what to expect. I felt like a beginner all over again and felt shy despite the fact that I knew Every Single Person in the class. (Okay, so there were only four of us. I still knew Everyone, and that's pretty cool.)

I feel over the past couple of months I have slowly lost all those gains in flexibility and fluidity that I had fought so hard for last year. In their place, I felt stilted, stunted, and clunky. And, the class did nothing to disabuse me of that notion really.  While my arm strength was quite good - thanks to months of indoor rock climbing sessions and now some rowing - my glute strength was weak and my legs were shaky in pretty much every yoga pose I tried. My balance was off a bit, and there wasn't much stretch in the body at all. Of course, it wasn't all bad. I did leave the class feeling about two inches taller. However, I also left with little aches and pains, telling me I kind of need to keep going back. And, I will.  I need to.

So, I am going to end with a question I've been thinking about all day. It takes a little setup, though, so bear with me.  I had the best night's sleep last night, and I cannot explain why. I have been sleeping horribly lately. My pillow somehow isn't right, and I go though life pretty much always with a sore neck and upper shoulders. It doesn't help that the job that just ended had me hunched over a computer keyboard five hours a day. So, yesterday my husband suggested swapping pillows with me to see if his, which is new, would be better. Okay. Cool. Also, before bed, I decided to try some simple neck stretches to see if that would help. So, fast forward to my good night's sleep. I go to bed later than my husband, so things are dark when I stumble in and go to bed. Got into bed last night and was immediately impressed with how fantastic the new pillow was. Got a great night's sleep. Even sleeping on my back, which I haven't been able to do for a long time. Woke up, neck felt great. Went out and asked my husband about the pillow, and he said he hadn't swapped pillows. Figured I would have done it if I wanted to. Huh. So, now I am left wondering if those neck stretches really are all that?  Or is it - as my husband suggests - simply an example of mind over matter? I believed I had a new, going-to-be-great-for-me pillow and I believed it? Something to think about.

Happy Running!

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