Reaching a Goal and Setting New Goals

3 hooks with colourful tags hanging

I Reached My Goal of Returning to Work

Some of you have already seen my latest update on social media so it will come as no surprise that I finally reached my goal. A goal that seemed impossible to reach a few months ago. I started back at work this week after nearly 11 months of sick leave.

I thought I would be nervous and anxious because I suffer from anxiety, but I was calm and relaxed. Too relaxed perhaps because I was nearly late on my first day! I had forgotten what the traffic was like at that time of day. My employer is supporting me during this transition period. I have started back at two shifts per week, non consecutive days and am building up to my usual 7 shifts per fortnight.

A Gradual Return to My Job

My first day was primarily a training day to do my yearly mandatory competencies on the computer. I felt a bit brain dead by the end of the day. I’m so glad I continued to use my brain during my sick leave, to write this blog and complete a course. It has helped me to keep the grey matter from being neglected!

My second day I was looking after patients with one of my colleagues as a buddy alongside me. Having her there to ask questions was so helpful. We use computers for all of our documentation and I had always found the computer difficult to use. I prefer the old school way of nursing because I feel that the computers take you away from the patients. But they are here to stay. Most of my questions related to the computer – the nursing came easily (once a nurse always a nurse!). I was happy that I didn’t feel as rusty as I expected.

It felt so good to look after patients again. I really missed this role while I was off work. It’s great to feel like a productive member of society again. Catching up with my colleagues was also lovely. There have been 3 pregnancies amongst the staff while I’ve been away. I enjoyed being welcomed back to the team.

While many of my colleagues are aware of the reason for my prolonged absence, very few know how hard I had to work to be fit enough for my job. I will never take my job for granted again. I used to think it would be nice to not have to work, but when I was in that position the only thing I could think of was returning to work. Nursing is such a rewarding career and it’s all I know. I couldn’t think of doing anything else.

Returning to work after long term sick leave as a nurse.  Image:  the author Christina Henry in scrubs on her first day back at work in nearly 11 months

Staying Fit and Strong in the Future

My goal is to keep up the exercise program that I have been doing. I used to have so much pain, especially in my lower back. The Exercise Physiologist has helped me to build up my strength so that I am using the correct muscles for lifting and performing tasks. I don’t want to lose that strength by sliding into bad habits again. I have never felt healthier and my back has never felt so strong.

Some of my daily routines will be different to before my sick leave. I used to cook a meal for my family no matter which shift I was on. We have become empty nesters in the past few months so I no longer need to do this. Freezing the excess has become a new habit and it will come in handy to have meals for my work days.

Many of my regular readers have encouraged me as I struggled with my journey to wellness. Thank you to everyone who has written such supportive comments. I feel overwhelmed sometimes by the kindness given to me. Every one of those comments meant a lot to me and helped me, especially when my spirits were low.

My New Project

For the last few weeks I have started working on a new project. I am creating a resource page for BRCA genetic mutations and cancer awareness. It is something that I feel drawn to because I have learned so much through my own journey. I am writing the script for a podcast on the same subject. This is a side project to my current blog, and will be attached to Midlifestylist.com. You may see the odd blog post on this subject in the future.

Lack of time will always be a factor. I wish I had more time to do everything that I want to do! But my blog has kept me motivated and busy for the entire time I was off work so I intend to keep going with it. Writing has always been my passion and it has given me purpose.

I will try to continue my weekly blog posts but as life returns to normal I may not have time to post a blog every week. I will try to continue sharing to my favourite Linkups but may have to reduce it to fortnightly in the future. Returning to work was my goal and after finally reaching it, my new goal is to stay fit and healthy so that has to remain my priority.

If you would like to read more of my story, you may enjoy these:

Shared on Weekend Coffee Share Linkup on Natalie the Explorer’s blog and Life This Week Linkup on Denyse Whelan’s blog

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26 Comments

  1. Well done on achieving your goal of getting back to work. I went back to work last week also after being off for twelve months due to Covid. It felt so good to be back. Good luck with your new challenge.

    1. Hi Jennifer, it feels so good to be back doesn’t it. I did not realise how much it meant to me before so it was a valuable lesson. Thanks so much for your comment, regards Christina

  2. I’m delighted you’re back to work and that your back is better! I’m very excited about your cancer awareness project too! I’m an oncology nurse but I’ve left my profession despite the fact that I agree with you it’s a rewarding career. I loved my job but the hospital started cutting down wards (and this was during a time with a disastrous lack of hospital beds!) and regular threats about (basically) closing our ward. At the same time both our nursing managers quit and everything went downhill, I started suffering from burnout and other things which in the end made me want to be able to control my own work environment and to see something else than illness and death – which I’m very glad about now during Covid.
    Anyway – best of luck with all your new goals.

    1. Hi Susanne, that’s a shame about your work environment. I left a toxic work environment 7 years ago and it really shook my confidence for a while. I must admit I was glad to avoid working during Covid lockdowns because the extra precautions would have added stress to my job. I had burnout when I worked in a palliative care ward, that’s when I changed to surgical nursing about 20 years ago. Thankyou for your lovely comment, regards Christina

  3. Congratulations on returning to work and all your hard work to be ready. Good to have new goals. Be gentle with yourself in terms of blogging. Not for health issues but because I still have part time obligations, there are some weeks I can do link parties and others not. It will be alright, and you blogging friends, community will be happy to hear from you. All the best Christian, Michele

    1. Hi Michele, thanks so much for your lovely comment. One of the things I love about blogging is the community so that’s why I really want to continue with it. But I agree, in the real world it just won’t be possible to do it all. Take care, Christina

  4. Congrats, Christina, on achieving your goal of returning to work. You’re wise to continue taking care of your health. All the best with your new project. Whenever you have time to blog, I’d love to hear from you at #WeekendCoffeeShare.

    1. Hi Natalie, I love your Linkup so I’ll be doing my best to keep up with it! But some weeks will be hectic so I know I won’t be able to every week. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Christina

  5. Such wonderful news, Christina that you are now back at work and you continue to inspire. I also love your new project and the way you are helping others to understand BRCA and cancer. A very important resource so best wishes for that. Have a lovely weekend. #WeekendCoffeeShare

    1. Hi Sue, Thank you so much for your support. It means a lot because you inspire me with all you achieve! Health is such a passion so it feels natural to want to teach others and raise awareness. Regards Christina

  6. I’m so pleased for you Christina, you have worked so hard to get back to work! Well done and I hope you’re going well. #weekendcoffeeshare

    1. Thanks so much Deb. I’m going well thanks, but it’s very tiring. I know it will take me some time to get used to working again so I’m very grateful for the graduated return to work that my employer is doing. Thank you for your kind comment, regards Christina

  7. I feel like no one sees the effort it takes to recover from things. At least I feel that for me – that because I don’t “look” like anything is wrong, it’s a mental fight sometimes to get the safe work accommodations I need. Or I get the “but you’re so diligent with physio and stretches” …yes but humans have setbacks and not everything is smooth sailing!

    Congratulations on the first shifts back!!

    1. Hi Vanessa, often our symptoms aren’t visible to others, for example pain or depression. I often hear that I look well but I was in a lot of pain! Those setbacks we have can be an emotional rollercoaster. I cried more in the last year than I ever have before! I’m very lucky that I have a supportive boss. My previous workplace would not have treated me well at all. I wish you well on your journey towards wellness. Thank you so much for sharing your story – there are more of us out there than people realise! At least you know you’re not alone. Warm wishes, Christina

  8. Hi Christina – how exciting to be back doing what you love (and to find out that you still love it). I’m a little envious of people who love their jobs (something I never really felt – more of a general “it’s okay” was all I could muster). I hope it continues to go well and that you maintain your wellness as you progress towards more shifts and also doing your new project.

    1. Hi Leanne, I honestly never knew how much work meant to me until the last year. This has given me a much better appreciation that work is not just earning a living. It’s interacting with other people and making a contribution to society. Once the shift work starts to take it’s toll on my energy levels I probably won’t feel this enthusiastic! Thank you for your lovely comment, regards, Christina

  9. Congratulations on returning to work. As someone who’s been unemployed for quite a few years lately I know how demoralising it can be to feel unproductive – particularly when you feel you have something to offer.

    1. Hi Deborah, Yes, you are right – a big part of it was feeling like I wasn’t contributing to society. I wish you all the best for finding employment – that must be incredibly hard. Take care, regards Christina

  10. What an amazing story of strength and perseverance, Christina. Good for you to meet your goal of returning to work. Your fitness activities and positive mindset served you well. You are an inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Laurie. I feel humbled that I am an inspiration to others! I was lucky to have so much support from my family, my boss and health professionals. Regards, Christina

  11. Such a great update Christina. You are a wonderful role model for anyone deciding to try going back to work despite what health issues crop up. I like that you are also wanting to help others on the blog. Teacher AND Nurse. Love this news. Well-done.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is Interesting. My post will be a continuation of Telling My Story as I am wanting to wrap the series up. It’s great to have your blogging support on my link up. Thank you. Denyse

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Denyse. Part of me always wanted to be a teacher! Like you, I feel compelled to raise awareness of cancer risk. Our stories can help others. Take care, Christina

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