I recently injured my back. As I go through daily life with a newfound hesitancy, which I’m sure some of you can relate to, I’m always wondering how far to push it.
I’ve decided this is a metaphor for career issues, too. Here are some ways in which caring for a hinky back can help you get your career back on track, too.
Don’t get stuck – If you’ve got back issues, sitting too long in any one position can make you feel like the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.” Stay fluid in your career, too. You don’t need to change jobs at the drop of a hat, but make sure you’ve got room to stretch and grow.
Align yourself – Many back injuries result from doing something a little off-balance, which over-stresses your muscles and makes them wail. To feel better and prevent further injury, get your body parts lined up the way they should be. If you’re feeling discomfort in your career, maybe it’s because your goals, objectives and actions aren’t in sync.
Imbalance – This is related to alignment, but it’s not the same. When picking up some heavy appliance, even if your alignment is perfect, you’re still courting injury if you take all the weight with your back. Similarly, even if your career is in line with your values, if you put all your energy into your work something’s bound to give. Try to balance yourself out.
Gentle stretches – These are often recommended for people with back injuries, to keep the blood flowing and promote healing. But since even gentle stretches will cause some discomfort, the trick is to know how far to go. A good dividing line is if you feel better or worse after stretching, which should work for your career, too. Try to push your limits, but not to the extent that you feel wrecked afterwards.
Breathe & be patient – Physical therapists and fitness instructors of all kinds always tell us to breathe into the stretch and let it go. This advice really does help with physical discomfort, so why shouldn’t it help with work issues, too? If you’re feeling stuck or stalled, cramped or otherwise achy at work, take a moment and breathe into the situation. This will give you an opportunity to relax and thoroughly observe what’s going on. After you’ve unclenched and deepened your understanding, you’ll have a better sense of whether this is a time for stepping back or pushing on through.
by Danielle Dresden