Managing a Busy Career with a Chronic Illness

I’ve shared in other posts how I am a bit of a perfectionist with a need for control, this part of my personality has always made me a bit of an overachiever, a type A personality with a drive to do it all and do it to perfection. Having a chronic illness obviously puts a bit of a strain on this and it’s like I have 2 sides to me that I continuously have to work on and balance out.

I’m very lucky to work in a job where my boss is very understanding, i’ve worked my way up in the company from being a copywriter and social media marketer all the way to managing the full team and some very big projects. I stay late sometimes and work outside of hours from home but 99% of the time this is my own choice because I want to do well and help wherever I can. If i’m feeling really tired or having a bad week or day there are never any questions asked or any doubt of my commitment to my role.

Now where it gets tricky is when the bad week turns into a bad month, day in day out pain is very tough and I have had to put some self care routines and almost restrictions on myself to manage this.

  1. Learning when to say no – I always want to do everything all of the time, if someone needs something from me or wants me to do something I want to say yes. In the long run doing everything all of the time just ends up with me feeling burned out which leads to a flare up and we’re back to day in day out pain. It is ok to say no sometimes and learning to say no has been a huge challenge for me, sometimes you have to put yourself first.
  2. Resting outside of work – I love to be busy and on the go, I want to spend my weekends out shopping, meals with friends and being productive in my personal life. To be able to function in work all week and get everything I want to get done completed I have to take time out in the evenings and weekend to just rest and relax. I make sure that I spend at least 2 hours each night off emails and I spend a good amount of time on Saturday or Sunday just pampering myself and watching Netflix/reading a good book.
  3. Sleep – Sleep is so important for me, one of the most unexpected symptoms of endometriosis for me is fatigue, if I don’t sleep well its a total nightmare, my body aches and i’m completely exhausted so I always make sure I get at least 7-8 hours sleep a night even if this means on some days I have to come home and go straight to bed.
  4. Eating well – Food is energy and fuel for the body, eating well is so important and getting those nutrients in really helps to keep you going in the work day. I try to avoid sugary snacks and instead eat nuts, fruit and healthier options during work. Its so easy to reach for the chocolate biscuits or crisps but you’ll soon feel it come 3pm and this doesn’t just apply to people with chronic illnesses.
  5. Enjoy your work – This is my final tip and one that is probably the most important for me. Do a job you love and find something in your job everyday to be proud of. I do so many different tasks and each day its nearly certain I learn something new, I get to work with a great team, be creative and most of the time go home feeling accomplished. If I have a bad day then I just tell myself tomorrow will be better and it really helps.

How do you manage your career when suffering with a chronic illness?

Thanks for reading

Abigail Louise x


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