North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week runs May 1-7. During NAOSH week, anyone in the workplace, whether they work at a desk or on their feet, are encouraged to learn about how to make safety a priority.
We reached out to a guest blogger, Edmonton photographer, communications whizz and mom, Megan Braithwaite, to get her perspective on how she keeps her health a priority with her busy work and home life.
Photography is the art of pausing a moment. In order to catch that open-mouthed laugh, look of astonishment, or mid-air jump, you have to be limber and quick—not only with your shutter finger.
Occasionally twisting your body into the perfect angle or carrying heavy lighting gear to give someone a perfect glow will take a photo from average to spectacular.
You never know what you’re going to get during a shoot—you may spend a day running after a busy bridal party or crouched in anticipation for half-an-hour waiting for a bird in perfect light to take flight.
So, how can you prepare for, well, anything?
I think it begins with two things—moving AND staying still.
Let’s start with moving.
Yoga is my movement of choice, because it helps me be flexible in mind and body. Downward dog helps me stretch out my tight calves so I can chase my subject around, and it allows me to “see” new angles. How often do you look between your legs? Upside down? I try to keep this in mind while I’m shooting. If I look at something a little differently, sometimes I can capture it in a remarkable way.
Another way I choose to move is to take a long walk outside with my baby and my German Shepherd. I know that if I can last an hour minding the stroller and a dog that chases everything, and still notice how the duck’s feathers on the pond are a beautiful oily hue, I can wrangle that bride, pet-as-ring bearer and all 20 family members into one gorgeous shot. I know that my cardiovascular health is up to par to chase that rambunctious one-year-old around their birthday party.
Now, staying still.
Pressing pause on life is an important way to prepare. Sitting still in meditation for a prolonged period of time trains my mind and my muscles for when I have to crouch down and wait for that deer to get just a little closer, so I can slowly press the shutter and capture the moment when curiosity overcomes fear.
Meditation also teaches me to be kind to my body. Just like charging the camera battery, having your SD card empty, and choosing the right lens, it is important to have your mind on the moment and your body able. It is impossible to be present when you’re thinking about joint pain, that tight muscle, a rumbling tummy or the argument you had with your husband last week.
My solution to this is simple self-care. Eat well and healthy, but don’t forget to indulge once in awhile. Express gratitude and joy for the moments in your own life worthy of a photograph. Listen to your body—get a massage, see a chiropractor, do some yoga, sit in meditation, or find a version of movement that brings you joy. Both your body and mind will pay you dividends when you are ready to press the shutter as your friends walk down the aisle, the little girl blows an impromptu kiss at the camera, or the bird on the branch finally spreads its wings.
Happy shooting everyone!
Megan Braithwaite is a mom, wife, communications professional and photographer who enjoys sinking into the background and stopping time with her camera.
See Megan’s work here.