There is a spot on my left shoulder blade that hurts like the dickens. No matter how much I shift and rub and trying to get comfortable, there is no getting rid of this stubborn pain. It usually starts about 8:30am, after I’ve been at my computer for 30 minutes sifting through emails, organizing my day, and lingers for about 8 to 10 hours until I get home. What do I do about this stubborn ache? Not a darn thing. I do my best to ignore it – how’s that for a strategy? Pay no attention. As strategies go, it’s not a very good one. Perhaps my body is trying to tell me something?
After six years of working in the chaos of start-ups, I have learned that I am not very good at paying attention to how my body is handling the inevitable stress of building a company. Though I “live” in my body, I spend most days in my brain, thinking my way through challenges, paying the rest of me – from the eyeballs down – very little attention. This means eating whatever is handy, drinking whatever has caffeine, and counting it as exercise when I walk from my desk to the copy machine. As long as I’m awake and my brain is turned on, everything’s great – right? Turns out, not so much.
One start-up I have had the privilege of supporting is Axeos, LLC. These folks are super passionate about educating companies how stress on the job is affecting both the mental and physical wellness wellbeing of their employees. From them, I have learned that how I take care of body affects the quality of my thoughts and brain performance – that stress breaks down my body in a way that can’t help but affect my mind. More importantly, I have learned to be aware of how stress uniquely affects me and with that recognition, I can head stress off at the pass.
I carry stress in my left shoulder. Instead of ignoring it – I now know to listen up and pay attention. And my career will be the better for it.
Written by Erin Stolte
VP Operations – HPT Development