Truly, emerging from years in a frenzied workplace is a real adjustment, even though dialing the tempo down to something more humane is so what I want. And where I was before was the very opposite of humane. I knew it was screwed up, but like a frog in the pot, it took jumping out and cooling off to realize the degree of insanity I was stewing in on a daily basis. I'm still realizing the full extent of how bad that was for me, how unhealthy, as I stress-detox and adjust to a slower speed.
I've been reading a fascinating book (Connected, highly, highly recommend it) and was really struck early in its pages by the notion of emotional contagion. I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago, following a weekend away with some friends old and new, and following a conversation in which someone I'd just met sneeringly dismissed Facebook as a "narcissist's dream." That may well be, I think I responded, but that's not all it is or all it's capable of. In the days that followed, I couldn't stop thinking about how social media can allow for the sharing of joy across space and time, how happy I feel when I real about someone else being happy, and how much I love sharing my own delight, whether it's a cappucino at Cibo, a newt I saw, or what-not. The joy is contagious.
I love that.
Emotional contagion works both ways, however. And that was so the problem with the last place I worked. I know, now, how crucial it is to observe carefully and quietly the attitudes, posture, words, mannerisms of the person in the highest seat in an organization or company. From that person the entire culture follows. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop where I am now, like a battered survivor crouching against the possibility of the next blow -- but all is quiet and calm. It's very serious where I am now, but it's not crazy.
And not-crazy makes a huge difference, I am very happy to report.
I set aside this whole first month of the year for my stress detox, and it's really working. But honestly the only way I could have accomplished this de-stress was to get out of the boiling pot I was in before, to save myself before I cooked through and through.
When there's a lull in the busy or when I look at my far-smaller paycheck, I remind myself of all that I am gaining by being in a better, not-crazy place. As the habit of stress begins to fade and my head hurts less and my ability to sleep returns, I relax more and more and inhabit my best self more consistently. Damn it, that's so Right.
Peace of mind.