Hi Grotto community,
It’s a joy to be writing to you all as the new senior content editor of Grotto. Previously a freelancer and social media manager for Grotto, I’m thrilled to re-join the team in this role. This month, we kick off a new edition about work and explore the way that productivity and busyness impact our lives. While I now find myself in a position that is fulfilling, challenging, and exciting, it’s taken time for me to get to this place, both professionally and personally.
During my first month at a previous job, my stress level got a bit out of hand — to say the least.
I woke up one day to a pounding headache and a tingling sensation on the side of my face. The tingling turned into a sore that wouldn’t heal. After a week of dealing with the headaches and the strange sore, which seemed to be spreading, I went to the doctor — and was sent home with a steroid prescription for shingles.
For someone under 50, getting shingles is fairly uncommon and often caused by one thing: a period of high stress.
The first few weeks of my new job, I was working remotely from my parent’s basement and, aside from a few Zoom meetings, had little communication with my new team. I felt marooned and unsure of what I was supposed to be doing. Hustle culture had taught me that overworking was the ideal. Eating lunch during meetings, grinding on projects late into the evening, checking emails on the weekend — that’s all acceptable, even encouraged, in some workplaces. And here I was, struggling to find enough tasks to fill my day. I let the stress build up because it felt deserved, a way to compensate.
My body’s physical reaction to the stress I was putting myself through was the shock I needed. My body was telling me, loud and clear: I’m not okay. I’m struggling. I need help. Most of all, it was telling me just how deeply I tied my worth to my productivity.
Realizing that our value lies in who we are, and not what we do, is easier said than done. But it is a truth worth pursuing. As I step into this role as Grotto’s new senior content editor, I carry this truth with me and strive to live it out. I invite you to join us this month at Grotto as we dive into stories about chronic stress, burnout, and the pressure to provide — and conversely, what we can do to meet that need for rest, peace, and patience that we so deserve in our lives. I look forward to joining you all the journey.
— Jessie McCartney
Senior Content Editor