Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Career Appearances

Since I am under great scrutiny, or rather, since my office is now an appearance obsessed one, I have encountered a problem: stretching.

Part of the most effective treatment (aside from Lyrica) for my fibromyalgia is stretching. I've been to physical therapy, and my therapist recommended that I take time during the day to stretch (with a proscribed set of particular exercises). When I had time for acupuncture, my acupuncturist also recommended stretching exercises throughout the day.

The exercises are very helpful in relieving the stiffness and pain when done regularly. But they are most certainly not professional in appearance. They involve shoulder circles, bending my arms overhead to reach behind me, etc. And then there is the need to crack my neck.

So how do I do this? How do I sit at my desk in my new professional-ized wardrobe and look professional while moving my shoulders in a circular motion backwards and forwards? The consequence is popping pain pills all day, something that could lead to completely different but equally detrimental perceptions of me.

I don't want to highlight this. Fibromyalgia is something I'm just going to have to live with (until someone discovers a cure), and while I know it makes me exhausted, and that I have chronic pain, and blah blah blah, I don't want the working world to think of me as defined by the disease. I want them to see my super amazing brain, my relentless creativity, my ambition, my zeal. But I also want to find a way to temporarily relieve pain without everyone staring at me and thinking I'm just so unprofessional.

2 responses:

Sarah Barah said...

If your desk is in a rather public place, I'd find somewhere else to stretch. Are they stretches that can be done in the common area in the restroom? Another idea is a breakroom... a friend of mind does wall push-ups while her luch is heating in the microwave. 3-4 minutes is just about the right amount of time.

Vanessa said...

If I'm thinking of the same exercise, then I think the shoulder circles would be rather harmless to do at your desk. But like Sarah, I thought why not excuse yourself to the restroom to do the stretches depending on how frequently you have to do them.

I the free commuter newspaper here, they publish a "workplace yoga" column, which features a simple stretch you can do at your desk to alleviate the tension/pain that builds up from sitting at a computer all day.... is that not a trend in Boston? It seems fairly harmless... too bad your office is so fussy.

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