by Rogers Corporation on Mar 09, 2022
In 2020, Rogers employees began Mental Wellness Monday, a series of stories on our intranet showing how colleagues around Rogers create positivity for themselves to help relieve stress and avoid burnout. Every other week, a new employee shares their personal story on how they actively work to take care of their mental health. It is a vulnerable series that exemplifies a significant amount of trust between our colleagues. Caroyln Castaneda of our IT department has chosen to share her story below.
We’ve been at this COVID-19 thing for nearly two years, and it’s a rollercoaster unlike any that I’ve ever been on, and I love a good, fast, scary rollercoaster! During this time our colleagues have written amazing, uplifting articles about all of the things they’ve decided to try for the first time, or things they decided to get back to doing since COVID provided the unique opportunity to do it. They’ve all talked about the ways they were intentional about these things and the benefits they’ve experienced while doing them. Truthfully, my experience with COVID has been something more along the lines of an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey.
Carolyn uses her home gym to stay physically and mentally healthy.
I found myself eating a lot, but I was eating things that I didn’t previously eat. Correction. I ate them, just not regularly...they were a treat or a cheat before COVID. I used to subscribe to a pseudo-Paleo way of eating, but by the time September 2020 rolled around I found myself eating things like entire Costco-sized bags of Chick-Pop, by myself. Not good!
Which of course ushered in the ‘Pray’ part of this journey because I needed to fix my relationship with food and locate some discipline and self-control. Fast. That executive decision happened in April of 2021. Yes, the food security blanket I had constructed for myself to cope with COVID lasted that long. That certainly wasn’t the plan, but as you all know time is relative, especially during COVID. To regain control of my food-life I started meditating. In the beginning I was focusing on all of the good, positive things in my life, which included how I get to work at a company that cares about my well-being. Then, I started meditating and focusing on the fact that food is fuel. I can enjoy it and it tastes good, but its main purpose is to provide my entire body with what it needs to work efficiently — not turn me into a human candy corn! Once I zeroed in on that and became intentional about it, that’s when I started to question whether I wanted something or needed something. I put things in place like drinking water first to determine if it was really hunger or just thirst that I was feeling.
When I threw out my food-as-a-coping-mechanism security blanket and started viewing food as fuel again, that’s where the ‘Love’ part of my journey happened. I cared about myself enough to get my food choices under control and began to do other things I used to enjoy before COVID as well. Self-love is so important, especially during these crazy times! I’m managing my food in a different way now. I still eat somewhat paleo, but I’m also counting calories and macros. One thing we did when COVID hit is we put a lot of money into our garage so we could have a home gym — one that I hadn’t used very often since we’ve been working from home. I’ve always enjoyed lifting weights. It’s one of my favorite things to do to relieve stress and re-gain focus. I used to do CrossFit and Olympic lifting several years ago and since then I’ve always believed that my weight bar is my therapist. So, I’m back in my home gym now on a regular basis, but I was missing one thing. I used to go to a spin class a couple days a week. I love getting a good sweat going, but I’m still a little unsure about going into a small room and sweating and breathing hard with a bunch of strangers. So, I did a thing: Meet Bike Tyson. Yep! I got a Peleton bike for my home! I now get to weight train and do cardio from the comfort of my own home. I’m so excited to take my first ride! And by the way, since I made the decision to bring discipline and self-love back to my health and well-being, I’m down 15 pounds!