5 Tips for Maintaining a Work-Life Balance with Chronic Pain

Creating good habits will leave you rested and energized

5 Tips for Maintaining a Work-Life Balance with Chronic Pain

By Lana Published at June 19, 2013 Views 3,339 Likes 1

Chronic illness creates an end to normalcy and there is no going back to the lives we once knew. Consequently, all this change disrupts your work-life balance making it important to find ways to effectively manage your health while meeting the demands of your already busy life.

Finding a work-life balance is different for every individual. For people with chronic illnesses, it is even more of a challenge to balance your health demands with your work and other life demands. Here are five practical tips to help you work towards maintaining a balance.

1. Sleep well. Having good sleep habits helps to minimize sleep issues and worsening heath problems. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up the same time every morning greatly improves your quality of life. If you are not getting restful and restorative sleep, you will find that meeting your health, work, and home demands becomes extremely difficult. To help you fall asleep quicker, keep your sleep area free from distractions and avoid activities such as eating a heavy meal, exercising or arguing less than three hours before bedtime. Having a bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or listening to calming music, can help to induce sleep. If you are still having sleep issues, talk your doctor about prescribing a sleep aid and/or helping you to resolve other medical issues that are keeping you up at night.

2. Plan. Successful and effective planning will allow you to achieve more, have a more predictable life, and help you to gain control over your disease and lifestyle. It will also help you to manage the amount and timing of activities you take on. When you plan, you will find that your activities become more enjoyable and less stressful. Your goal should be to balance activity and rest. Planning rest periods is important because it minimizes fatigue and increases energy levels. That means more life enjoyment and the ability to take on more.

3. Use lists, schedules and calendars. Memory problems and other cognitive difficulties can affect people with chronic illness, but making use of time and date aids can help you to balance your professional and personal lives demands. You can even purchase planners and calendars that fit into your purse or pocket or make use of the scheduler on your smart phone. Preparing to-do lists can assist you in keeping track of what you need to do each day and also help to keep your home life separate from your working one. Just be mindful and realistic about what you can do and what you can handle. Cross out entries as you complete tasks so you can see what have accomplished and what you have left to do.

4. Get Moving. Physical activity helps to relieve pain and lessens stress. Walking benefits your heart, lungs and mind, so walk as often as you can. You should walk or exercise at least three times a week and go at your own pace. In addition to managing pain and stress, exercise can help you to get some control over the symptoms of your illness. When pain and symptoms are managed, your quality of life is greatly improved.

5. Take care of yourself. Taking care of your body and your health helps you to stay energized and keeps fatigue at minimum. Eating well-balanced meals helps you conserve energy levels and drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated. Manage stress with relaxation therapies and exercise. To further aid in keeping your work-life balanced with your health demands, ask your doctor how you can keep pain levels low and let him or her know how and if your medications are helping. Remember that when your pain is controlled, you will sleep better, minimize symptoms, and manage stress and in turn, your work-life balance will be better achieved.

Keep in mind that there is a no “one size fits all” solution to maintaining a work-life balance with chronic illness. Finding balance when juggling health demands with an already busy life is different for each person. Only you know what is best for you. Since chronic illness requires constant change, look for opportunities to find balance in a way that best suits your lifestyle. It may take time, determination and even setbacks but in the end, finding your work-life balance will be worth the effort.

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