As part of my ongoing attempt to cultivate a better mindset towards my life, I’ve started to question some practices I’ve taken on at work. One of those is the need to be at one’s desk for a majority of the day.

For most of last year, I had believed that my higher-ups would frown upon me if I took leave for half an hour or so to go for a walk and cool down from anxiety. It’s often probably led to more anxiety and the cycle of doom, whereby you think about how unhappy you are, which causes you to become unproductive, which then causes you to think about how unhappy you are.

Today, my team found something I had missed in a piece of analysis work I had done before I got sick. We’re due to demo all the functionality for this work tomorrow, and I was meant to be busy this afternoon moving onto new work.

For a long time, I would’ve ruminated on it all afternoon and well into the night, how much I had disappointed everyone and proved myself a professional failure. Today I tried a new tact: I got the minimum functionality we’d need to be okay for tomorrow, communicated it to the team.

And then I stopped what I was doing and went for a walk.

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I forced myself to leave the office, pull myself out of the echo chamber that is work, and experienced the beauty of the world. When you get outside of your headspace, you realise that not only the mistake was pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things, but that the feelings that you were projecting onto other people weren’t actually true.

We’re on the path of building a safe-to-fail culture, and of trying your best. All signs I’ve experienced in recent times point this to being true. And even if it’s not true, what do I gain by worrying about it and beating myself up? If I’ve learnt from my mistakes, that’s more valuable than any self-harrassment I’m doing now. And I was more productive when I got back from my walk to boot.