Having a chronic condition while working can be difficult. It can often feel like walking a tightrope. While balancing work and your health won’t always be easy, you can make things much less complicated with proper planning and open communication with your employer.
There are many ways to stay productive and make that balancing act much easier when you have a chronic condition, whether you work at an office or for yourself.
Set Yourself Up At Work
The first step is to set yourself up with an optimal work environment that molds to your particular condition. Find a way so that you’re comfortable and you can prioritize your health, but also so that you can complete the work to the best of your ability. You need to listen to your body because only you know when you’re hurting or when you should make a change to be more productive.
Your condition may require a certain work schedule that allows you to take time off for doctor visits or provides breaks at certain times so you can take your medication. Instead of keeping this a secret at work and trying to push through it, learn your rights and speak to your managers about your illness and the accommodations you need to succeed. Don’t worry — they’re required to keep your ailment confidential. However, the HR team can work with you to provide the support and extra time off you require.
If you need to speak to your doctor regularly and it’s just too much to leave work every day, consider telehealth’s benefits. Once you get approval from your manager, you can log on during a break and speak to the doctor via webcam. You can even have a prescription filled, and you can do it all without leaving the office.
Think About How You Work
When it comes to succeeding professionally with a chronic condition, try thinking ahead and planning your days. Write down what you want to accomplish before your break, your lunch, and by the end of your shift. Break your major goals down into smaller tasks and you can accomplish what you need to do without stressing or pushing yourself too far.
The other key step is to set boundaries when you realize you’re being pushed too far, both with your tasks and workday. If excessive overtime is making you miss your doctor appointments or staying in your office chair for too long is causing you pain, then speak to management about a more manageable workload.
If you’re in a position to do so, then it’s also important that you try to delegate your tasks if you’re given so much that you’re overwhelmed or making mistakes. You don’t necessarily need to announce that you’re delegating work because of your condition. Instead, you can turn it into a cross-training opportunity. When everyone in your department can do everyone else’s jobs, they can fill in when there’s an emergency or a coworker is absent. This is a great strategy that helps the company and prevents you from pushing your body too far.
Consider Working For Yourself
Proper planning and open communication can help you at the office. However, if you want a change of scenery and you’ve got a good idea, then the best scenario may be to work from home or start your own business. Such an arrangement is a great way to control your surroundings so you don’t have to get approval to do what you need to excel at your job, and you can always make time for doctor’s appointments and self-care.
You may never have realized that you were the type of person who would work for yourself, but if you’ve never liked taking orders and you not only require flexibility but value it, you may find that becoming an entrepreneur makes you happier than you’ve ever been before. What’s so amazing about working for yourself is that it’s also great for your mental health.
It’s thought that entrepreneurship can improve your mental health because it can give you incredible confidence when you can start a business from scratch and see it flourish because of your plans and strategies. When you come up with big ideas and find a way to market them to the masses, and you actually get a bite from hungry customers, it’s also an incredible boost for your self-esteem.
When you’re working for yourself as an entrepreneur, you’ll most likely need to start by working remotely. This can be a prime arrangement in terms of accommodating your health condition. Although there are many rewards, it’s important not to push yourself too far and to have a proper work-life balance so you don’t exacerbate your medical condition.
However, it’s also easy to let work get in the way of the self-care you’d normally do at home, which is why it’s essential to prioritize a healthy working-from-home lifestyle. Set working hours and stick to them. Make time to exercise, maintain a social life, and eat right so you can feel good day in and day out.
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, you can excel in your professional life despite your chronic condition. Recognize your boundaries and don’t be afraid to ask for help, and you can succeed and do great things.