Re-Thinking a Career That Works for AS
Finding a job that works for AS can be hard.
I recently had a coaching client who realized the job he once loved was making life with AS worse. It was a high-stress role in a busy environment. Long hours, a grueling commute and conflict with difficult co-workers had always gone along with the job and been considered normal.
Obstacles of a full time, stressful job
As we worked together on a lifestyle plan it became clear his job was a huge obstacle to making positive change.
Driving for 3 hours a day in bad traffic was aggravating his lower back pain. He was interested in eating better, but would arrive home each night too exhausted to shop or cook dinner. Other meals were often grabbed from the office vending machine and eaten mindlessly at his desk.
With no time or energy to exercise, my client had stopped moving and gained extra weight, causing additional health concerns on top of AS. We mapped his worst flare-ups against stressful events at work in the previous two years and saw an almost perfect correlation. As much as we brainstormed solutions, the job continually presented itself as a block to making real and lasting change in his life.
Making a change
We explored how much his work meant to him and weighed this up against his quality of life and concerns about his future health. It was a difficult a decision to make but in the end he decided it was time to rethink his career and find a different way to make a living.
I found myself in a similar position some years back with a job I knew was worsening my AS. Heavy lifting, long hours on my feet, late nights, and out-of-control stress sabotaged all my efforts to get on top of my symptoms. I needed the money but I reached a point where I had to make a choice between the job and my health.
Giving up on a role I’d invested many years in was difficult, both in a practical sense and for the loss of identity I experienced when I stopped work. But it wasn’t long before I began to see I’d made the right decision. With the time and headspace to work on my health I started to feel better. In time my symptoms dramatically reduced.
Once I was well enough I began exploring a new career I was passionate about. One that didn’t mean compromising all the positive habits that were keeping my AS under control.
I’m fully aware that most people aren’t in a position to risk their source of income. For me this was a huge change that took time and planning to put in place. It also involved some sacrifice and adjustment. It meant taking a chance and investing in me and my future wellbeing, and for me this has paid dividends. I believe it will for my client too.
Is your job working for you? Is is sustainable into the future with your health in mind? What alternatives could you consider?
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