Before my Hemorrhagic Stroke, I was completely guilty of this. Long days in the office were my norm. The stressful commute to and from home didn’t help matters either. I loved the pace! There is no doubt about it, but at times, I definitely over did it in my professional career. I didn’t sleep enough, my diet was crap during the day, and my exercise routine (or lack there of) was a bit off balance back then. I cared far more about making money and impressing my bosses other than focusing on my health. Both my marriage and overall quality of life suffered from my lifestyle.
After my stroke, the reality set in which went over like a lead balloon! My doctors and therapists all figured out rather quickly that I put my work before just about everything. They also informed me that my life was going to become very different because of brain injury. Sleep and downtime would become critical as my brain began to repair itself itself. Let me just say that the transition was not easy! I refused to put my work aside as my body started to heal itself in my rehabilitation hospital. As a result, the set backs began to pile up due to my stubbornness to adapt to my disability. I was so afraid of what the future had in store for me professionally that I bloke out the reality that I was very, very sick at the time.
Looking back on it all, I should have made my therapy the #1 priority rather than getting back to work as quickly as possible. Much time was needed for the body and brain to adjust to my new surroundings. Getting well after traumatic brain injury is a process. It sucks and I didn’t want to hear any of it back then, but its a process. It’s a long, slow, and at times frustrating process. One aspect of therapy that I was able to repurpose from my professional life was the ability to set goal for myself (both long and short term) in the hospital. I made a game out of it of sorts and my job was to figure out how to get back as much as I possibly could in there. I enjoyed the challenge of it all even though the situation was life altering. In time, the pieces started to fall into place and I did get back to the company that I loved so much.
I realize the article focuses on work related stroke risk, but this topic has been on my mind for a while. Find a healthy balance between work and play!