Surviving a Stressful Job Despite Chronic Illness
Living with a chronic illness can be extremely difficult, when you work in a high stress field you may find your health quickly taking a nosedive. So, what do you do?
While some may be forced to quit their jobs due to their health, some people manage to find their own delicate balance that allows them to keep working in high stress environments. Here are three important tips that help me keep my balance.
You Are What You Eat
Diet cannot be stressed enough, but between having little to no time for meal prep and the unpredictability of breaks, eating healthy can be a challenge. While a complete diet overhaul would be best, in most cases it is not necessarily feasible. So the next best thing is finding and eliminating your food sensitivities.
There are numerous articles and lists on the internet telling you what foods you should avoid for every type of illness under the sun, so do some research for your particular illness. Then narrow down those lists by paying attention to what your body is telling you, find what your personal triggers are and avoid them.
A food diary can be invaluable when you are discovering your dietary sensitivities. Write down what you eat each day as well as how you are feeling, then look for patterns.
Do your joints ache the day after you eat a steak or burger? What about after pizza or spaghetti? Once you discover what you need to avoid, look for substitutions. Tomatoes make you ache? The internet has many tomato-free recipes, so you can have your pizza and eat it too.
Give Yourself Permission to Rest
Stress is the enemy, it can quickly exacerbate chronic illnesses and can be extremely detrimental to your health. We often deal with irate customers and tight deadlines, if we aren’t careful this constant stress can not only weigh us down but also follow us home.
That is why we all need an outlet, so take a moment to think of things that soothe you. It can be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break or as creative as writing music. The idea is to release those emotions and stress so they can’t bottle up.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical in managing an illness. So give yourself permission to take the occasional evening or weekend off with no cell phone, leave work where it belongs and giving yourself some personal time.
Admit You Are Not a Super Hero
Yeah, that’s a tough one to swallow; you are amazing but you aren’t invincible. The 40+ hour work weeks of the past might no longer be within your capabilities.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit, but maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Work with your employer, maybe you can cut back your hours by working shorter days without hurting yourself.
You need to be honest about what your health will allow you to do at this point.
It’s better to cut down your hours for now than to work yourself so far into the ground that you are forced to quit. Listening to what your body is telling you is vital. So pay attention to how you feel each week and be open to adjustments.
Finding the Balance
When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness you quickly discover that long hours and bad nutrition are no longer an option. Incorporate some of these changes into your daily routine. Your body may seem like the enemy but it can also be your greatest ally.
Listen to what your body is telling you and act accordingly, small changes can result in big improvements. It’s a daily struggle, but once you find that balance you may just find that you can maintain your health and keep your high stress job too.
Candice Hardman is a writer who uses her experiences as a healthcare worker and patient to bridge the gap in health communications. She provides professional writing services that help improve patient understanding and outcomes through her website.
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