With all the yoga and meditation I do, you would think stress is something I totally take in stride. But I have faced the same challenges many of us do when it comes to managing stress. Technical writing might seem like an innocuous career, with the writers hidden away in the background, quietly working away and almost falling asleep from the dullness. It is not like that at all! We are the bridge between many different groups on a project, including developers, business and product analysts, QA and testing, project management, the SMEs, and so on. We talk to people all the time, and often face extremely tight schedules. It can get to be quite stressful if we don’t learn to balance all the demands for our time in a healthy way. My friends and family know how stressed out I can get and have given me the card shown here on two different occasions! 🙂
I was recently interviewed by Chatelaine magazine to tell my story of being addicted to stress. Vancouver-based Dr. Gabor Maté has written a great book on the subject, When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress. I recommend all his books, but this one in particular woke me up to the trap I was in of creating a stressful lifestyle for myself. Quick tip: If you’re feeling stressed, take a breath. Another tip, from the Chatelaine article: sleep naked!
Image credit © 2006 Avanti Press, Inc., Box 2656 Detroit, MI 48231
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On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, I taught a class called Yoga for the Office for the Vancouver chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, a professional organization for technical writers. This is the second time I have taught this course to technical writers, and I developed it to help counter-act the strain on our bodies from working at a computer. Of course this type of yoga is helpful for anyone who works at a computer, not just technical writers! I was inspired to teach this course when I developed the strategic plan for the chapter in May of 2008. As I pondered what I could bring to the chapter in my role as president, the vision that emerged was Making a Difference.
I finished a degree in ecopsychology at Naropa University in 2007, and since then I have been discovering different ways to use what I have learned to serve my people… which includes family, colleagues, and my professional organization, as well as other communities. In the busy city of Vancouver, I think we all belong to multiple communities. And to the community of the planet as a whole.
I believe that many people are concerned about the challenges we are facing as a planet, such as climate change, pollution, social injustice, and economic difficulties. I also believe that people want to make a difference, and do many things in their lives that are making a difference already. So I decided it would be empowering and lively to celebrate the ways we make a difference. This theme still excites me, and it carried me through the challenges I occasionally faced as chapter president for the 2008-2009 term. I believe it has infused our chapter membership of technical writers with enthusiasm about being a part of our STC community.
It has been very inspiring for me to hear of the many different ways our members serve their people: bringing food to people living with HIV or AIDS and their families, street-level outreach for the homeless, dog therapy for palliative care patients, helping friends and family members with child care, and many, many other wonderful contributions. It is not surprising that technical writers are so passionate about service when one considers that we have all chosen a type of work that is service-oriented, helping our clients, companies, and the end users of our documentation to solve their problems. One of the ways that I enjoy contributing is through teaching yoga to people who otherwise might not have an opportunity to experience it.
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