Tips for Managing at Work With AxSpa
Last updated: May 2023
Some of the biggest challenges with AxSpa can present themselves in the workplace.
Only a small percentage of people are financially independent, and disability support is increasingly hard to obtain. It’s likely you don’t have the choice to give up your job even if you wish you could.
Chronic illness can make it difficult to keep up at work
Sitting or standing for long periods of time, carrying heavy items, managing fatigue and brain fog or operating in a stressful environment are all so much harder with AxSpa.
On days of high pain it may be difficult to get to your workplace, let alone perform as expected. It not only affects your self-esteem; even the most supportive employer and co-workers can become frustrated when you can’t play your part.
Here are some tips for managing your work with AxSpa
Honesty is important, both with yourself and your employer
The tough reality is that some physical jobs will simply no longer be viable with this diagnosis. Your employer needs to know what your limitations are, particularly if this represents a safety risk to you or others.
It may be possible to make modifications to your work environment or the tasks you perform. Ask your employer what they can do. Larger organizations will often have more of a capacity to support someone’s changing abilities, and depending on where you live this may be legislated. Seek further advice as to your rights if you’re unsure.
Managing your expectations around your performance is also important
Your energy levels, physical capabilities and mental clarity can all be affected by AxSpa. You may be more vulnerable to the affects of stress and conflict. You may not be able to deliver or create what you once could.
Talking with a therapist who understands chronic illness can be a helpful strategy in both accepting these changes and learning how to approach things differently.
Do everything possible to take care of yourself within the working week
This might mean being disciplined about when you go to bed and waking up in time to do your stretch routine. It might mean getting fresh air and some movement during your lunch break, or staying well hydrated and eating a good lunch. The more you can do to set yourself up well, the more these habits will support your general wellbeing.
Look for ways to work differently
Just as the pandemic saw many people shift careers, a diagnosis can sometimes prompt you to seek out a path more suited to your capacity for work.
Options such as flexible hours, working from home or job sharing can be invaluable in providing the work/life balance you need to stay on top of AxSpa.
Stay open to shifts within your career or into a different one that better accommodates your needs. Be alert to job opportunities that are closer to home, kinder to your body or just a better match for you. Create a checklist of what your ideal job would look like and put yourself out there with agencies or within your networks in case something suitable comes up.
Above all, avoid blaming yourself or seeing your changing performance levels as a failing on your part
Being unwell is not your fault, nor was it your choice. Connecting with others who have AS in support groups and online forums can allow you to discuss work issues and feel less alone.
People in your health care team and the AS community can be a valuable resource in learning how to manage work in certain industries, access additional support or tackle various workplace situations.
What tips can you share with those who are struggling with AxSpa at work?
Have you ever had to take a leave of absence from work due to your symptoms?
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