It is no secret that chronic illness can take a toll on your life; one moment you are okay, the next moment you are struggling to do simple day-to-day tasks. Managing work while dealing with a chronic illness can especially be challenging if you have inflexible schedules and strict deadlines.
So is it possible to achieve your career goals while managing your chronic health condition? The answer is yes! However, you may need to make some changes in your life. You will need to know how to find a balance between health and work. Below are some tips to help you maintain high efficiency in the workplace despite your chronic condition:
1. Consider Informing Your Boss
If you are dealing with a chronic illness, decide whether or not you will communicate this to your boss, the human resource manager, or your colleagues. It is not necessary to tell your boss about your situation if you don’t want to. This is especially true if disclosing the condition may cause you to be fired outright.
However, it can be helpful to disclose your condition to your employer if you think that your illness will affect your future work or cause conflicts in your work schedule. If they are aware before a challenge arises, they may be more empathetic when they notice a decline in your work production. Also, it is a good idea to talk to your human resource manager so you have support in case of misunderstandings with your supervisors or boss.
Be mindful of what, how much, and to whom you disclose your chronic illness issues. Be aware that disclosure could trigger stigma, discrimination, and prejudice, especially when you are dealing with a case like mental health. On the other hand, you may enjoy the benefits of a more understanding work environment.
2. Understand Your Rights
As an employee dealing with a chronic illness, you have certain rights that will help you cope in the workplace. You have the right to get support from your company, extra supervision time, flexibility, and more.
You also have the right to ask for accommodation if your work schedule is negatively impacting your health. Inquire if your boss could make certain adjustments to help you keep healthy by allowing time for doctor’s appointments, while still getting the job done. If possible, you could also appeal to your employer to allow you to work from home whenever possible. Many organisations offer free virtual doctor consultations in partnership with telemedicines companies such as Amwell or Doctorspring, as one of the benefits for employees to help employees save time. You may ask your employer if they offer such benefits.
If you feel like any of your rights are being breached, and the HR doesn’t offer a solution, become familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to this act, the employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to any disabled employees in the company.
3. Know the Company’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy
Companies that have this policy may give their sick employers an intermittent leave without penalizing them for the missed hours or days. Usually, the Family Medical Leave Act covers employers who have more than 50 employees. Also, for you to qualify for this leave, you need to have worked for the employer for more than one year in which you should have completed a minimum of 1250 hours of work.
When your company adheres to this policy, it will greatly improve your experience at work despite your condition. This is because you will be able to rest when you are very ill and still have the security of a paycheck.
4. Find a Balance
Of course, it is essential to find a balance between your health and work because both are equally important. You don’t want to push yourself too hard to meet deadlines while your health deteriorates. On the other hand, you don’t want to strain your relationship with your employer because you are not delivering according to the expectations.
Set up clear boundaries so that you can achieve your goals at work without draining yourself. You can only become successful and productive at work when both your mind and body are relaxed. Talk to your doctor as well as your employer to help you set boundaries and come up with healthy ways to get the job done.Also Read: 10 Easy Exercises for Office Workers
5. Talk to Friends and Family
As stated above, living with a chronic illness is not easy, and it can take a toll on your whole life. It can cause sudden shifts in your body, leading to reduced energy levels, limitations in functions, mood swings, and discomfort.
So unless you educate those close to you about your condition, they may never understand why you react the way you do during difficult periods when your condition flairs up. This can put a strain on your relationship, and you may unintentionally exclude yourself from your loved ones. If you talk to them about your condition and educate them about your struggles, it will be easier for them to support you so you can have an easy time both at home and at work.
6. Get Quality Sleep
Poor sleep can leave you feeling tired, worn out, and even deteriorate your chronic condition. For your brain and body to restore the lost functions from the day, you need to get quality sleep with low interference. This will also help to alleviate fatigue, improve your mood, and reduce the symptoms of the illness.
According to chronic illness expert Jacob Teitelbaum, getting 8-9 hours of quality sleep helps to restock the energy reserves of the body. This way, you will have improved cognition and high energy levels so you can recalibrate for the next day.
7. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help improve your mood, lower risk of disease, and reinvigorate you for the morning. There are different activities that you can do that will help restore your body and mind without necessarily overwhelming you. This includes physical activities like yoga, dance, Pilates, weightlifting, or step aerobics.
Besides physical activities, you can also do other things that you love, like meditation, swimming, or reading a book.
Your chronic illness does not have to limit your productivity in your place of work. The tips above will help you have a successful career without having to let your health deteriorate. Above all, do not forget to take care of yourself and look for the support you need from your doctor, family, and colleagues.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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