I’ve been sitting on the idea of this post for a while, not sure if I really wanted to write on this topic because I feel like I’m complaining.
What made me decide to write about working from home with a chronic health condition was simple: I got another one of my monster headaches and was out of commission for two days.
Now, I don’t want to minimize or assume anyone’s personal situation or condition, so in this post I’m going to talk about what I do to be able to continue working with my chronic health condition.
How I Work From Home With A Chronic Health Condition
#1 I Know My Limits
When I feel a migraine coming on, I go down fast.
I used to continue working even when I felt that familiar spark behind my right eye, thinking I could keep going and get a lot of work done. I pushed myself to the point of making mistakes and starting things I wasn’t able to finish.
It took me a while to realize this, but now I know my limits. I know that little spark means it’s time to quit. Put it all away and start out fresh when I’m well again. I know that I can’t be my usual self, like I was yesterday,
But what about my family?
They still need attention so plan ahead and manage the house in a very modified way (if I can). I make sure to have plenty of “heat and eat” dinners in the freezer. I rely on friends and relatives to help with the little things. And when they’re not available, I muster up the strength to do what needs to be done, making sure to have a barf bag handy 🙂 . Seriously.
#2 I Know My Plans And Goals Will Change
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to change my plans because of one of my headaches. And that’s a bummer because I know someone will be disappointed, but I just can’t go through with the plans.
When it comes to setting goals (like last Friday when I wanted to write a new article for this blog) I have to concede to the pain welling up in my head and accept the fact that my plans and goals WILL change.
I didn’t get that article written.
#3 I know There Will Be A Backlog of Work
Not being able to work for a day or two causes things to pile-up. And if there are deadlines, from a client for instance, the stack of work I have to do when I am well is HUGE.
Being a self-employed blogger means I have to work extra hard to get an article out: a lot of researching, writing, and editing has to be done in a short amount of time to get the article done on schedule. In fact, I have to work on what I would normally consider “my” time.
Not only will my work load suffer as a result of my chronic health condition, my everyday life tasks will too.
So what do I do ?
When creating contracts with clients, or setting my own blogging schedule, I’ve leaned to pad in at least an extra day to accommodate potential illness.
#4 I Look For Flexibility
The ideal job is one that is totally flexible.
Being able to work the schedule that suits me would be the best way to cater to my chronic health condition. Setting my hours, being able to take care of my health needs, and still retain a job can be accomplished easier than a lot of people think.
A lot of companies are proud of their flexible (and remote) work environment, like Automattic, Hubstaff, Modern Tribe, Zappier, The Search Monitor, and Upworthy. Work at home jobs in transcription and teaching EFL (teaching English as a foreign language) are awesome ways to work whenever I am well.
#5 I Know It’s Coming So I Don’t Stress
That nagging thought “will I have a migraine tomorrow ???” kind of stresses me out. I would anticipate the pain at any moment, not knowing if I should cancel tomorrow’s plans or not.
You know what ?
Stressing about it is a real pain in the rump.
One day I just decided to quit fretting the migraine that was lurking around the corner. When it hits, I’ll deal with it. There’s nothing else I can do. Besides, everyone I know understands how poorly I feel on my migraine days and they are all pretty forgiving.
#6 When I’m Well, I’m Good
I treasure the good days.
The days I’m feeling well are 180 degrees from my bad headache days. The good days are the ones that take the majority of the work load – I do my best to get a lot of work done. I tell myself “do it while you can, girlie” which, I believe, is a good attitude to have because it makes the bad days a little less guilt-filled.
How Do You Handle Working From Home With A Chronic Health Condition?
We’re not immune from bad days. And when we have to make a living while dealing with a chronic illness or health condition, it can take a toll on our bodies. The 6 things I’ve outlined above help me cope with my condition, making it easier to see that I can take care of myself and still work.
I would love to know how you work with your chronic health condition. What kind of work do you do? What do you do to get through each day ? Please let me know in the comments.