Ep23: When I fell flat during push-ups but stood my ground in front of the boss


  • Time 4 min
  • Date November 25, 2020

“I stopped as I saw the little plant on my desk. Not Samar again!”

Becca and I were silent in the cab. It had been a looooong day. As her house approached, she asked me if I’d be okay. I nodded, not showing her my fears. As the cab moved on, I took long deep breaths as advised by the counsellor and searched for something to distract myself. Fortunately, I recollected an upcoming skincare competition that Becca had mentioned earlier. Her radio station was covering it. It was high on my to-do list for the next day… err today, actually. But something else topped that list and I hoped I wouldn’t fall flat on my face.

Seven hours later, I was flat on my face, watching my heavy breathing blow dust on my face. Taking my counsellor’s suggestion of ‘a strong body helps the mind get stronger’ as the gospel truth, I had enrolled for CrossFit. And honestly, I would have given up after the first push-up if it hadn’t been for the presence of a certain Samar whose smirk I could feel, though he did not so much as glance my way.

I reached office with a sore body that was dying for caffeine but stopped as I saw the little plant on my desk. Not Samar again! I looked around to find similar plants all around. My eyes fell upon Mallika’s hurriedly scribbled note. ‘Life coach Archana Chauhan @CF — discussing tips to deal with work-stress’.

Sigh! Coffee would have to wait.

Ms.AC was sharing hacks on handling work-stress. Thankfully, I did not need them yet.  Though I had missed point 1, the clue had been on my desk. Apparently, the green colour of plants was scientifically proven to soothe the mind and reduce stress. If only it could soothe my muscles… ugh!

Ms.AC was suggesting to-do lists as putting scattered tasks in order and striking off what you get done gives a deep sense of accomplishment. “Not for me,” I whispered to Mallika. “Looking at a list itself exhausts me.” Mallika whispered back, “Hehe, me too.”

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“Detach yourself from work once you are out of here.”

Next, we were pulled into a breath exercise. As a certified healer, Ms AC advised a breathing pattern. Inhale 7 — hold 1 — exhale 7 — hold 1. This would help us detoxify and keep calm.  What’s to lose, I thought and joined in. Breathe in 1..2..3..4..

I jolted as I felt an elbow nudge, it was Mallika getting me to wake up. I had dozed off right in the middle of an official workshop with my boss in the room! Damn, that CrossFit!

Ms.Chauhan was asking us to prove our point to our boss as another way to ward off stress. Really? I looked at ND and gave her a friendly smile. Her response was a smile I couldn’t gauge. Ms AC continued, “Remember, your input is important and make sure you are heard.”

Bang on! I thought. Only to realise that I had said it out loud. Cringing, I tried not to think of the looks coming my way.

Ms.AC finished with, “Detach yourself from work once you are out of here.” I loved this bit, but dared not say anything.

Post lunch, I informed ND about Becca’s competition, giving her all the details, I had found out. She thought it was a good idea to participate. Mallika of course was interested too and guess what? We were paired up once again. Ugh.

ND also wanted me to share my ideas before I finalise, basically seek her approval. “I’m planning to present a series of memes,” I mentioned. Mallika immediately seconded the idea but ND stopped in her tracks, “Are you joking?” She asked, looking most unimpressed.  “Memes make for great visual communication — fun, quirky and informative; perfect for the target group of this competition.” I replied but ND looked unconvinced.

However, I was totally convinced and defended my idea. Finally, ND gave in. I was giddy with success but then she added, “You’ve made your point, now prove it. Win the competition.” she said and left.

I stood there in shock.

How to take it chill at work?

  • Get an indoor plant for your work desk
  • To-do lists are a godsend
  • Try deep breathing in high-stress situations
  • Stand up to the boss
  • Log out of work when you log out of the building
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