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Finding Balance in Pushing Yourself and Resting with Work

Over the last 6 months, I have been diligent in getting myself back into a consistent work schedule. I work from home, so it can be a challenge to stick to a routine, even more so if my body is screaming at me for rest. There are many times where I have to push through, and others where I have to admit defeat and give my body the rest it needs. So how can we find balance in pushing ourselves and knowing when it’s time to rest?

Manageable symptoms vs. worrisome symptoms

This can be a challenging thing to piece together, given that every day is different, and everyone’s experiences are different as well. So really try to sit down and think about what symptoms you have learned to manage on a daily basis, and which symptoms (or the state of those symptoms) means your body has had enough. It’s important to learn our boundaries within our body’s limitations so we can gauge what is doable on a day-to-day basis.

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The reality of working with a chronic illness

The one unfortunate reality is that there are going to be many days where we feel like we don’t have a choice in the manner. We have to show up, we’ve fallen behind on an assignment/project...whatever it may be, there are lots of times we are going to have to push ourselves because, well, work is work and we need the money.

On days like these, I try to break things up into smaller tasks and take more frequent, short breaks. Even if it means just laying down or finding a quiet place to sit for 10 minutes. Whatever it is you need to do to get through the day and make yourself as comfortable as you can. There is only so much that we can do on days like these, but it can be survivable at the very least. At it’s best, you had a great productive day!

Bad days are inevitable

On the other side of the coin, our bad days will come up eventually. We may have to call in, or if you work at home like me, have to push back working on projects for the remainder of the day and play catch up when you are feeling better. First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up for days like these. Give yourself some compassion and know that it will pass, and that you will catch up on work whenever you are able. Things WILL get done. But for now, your body is your priority. Rest is crucial in a successful work-illness balance.

If possible, make a schedule that works for YOU

One thing that can be helpful is creating a schedule around rest. That could look like many things. It could mean taking more breaks throughout the day. It could mean dedicating “rest days” mid-week so that you are keeping your symptoms at bay. I personally have 2 days a week that I dedicate to rest. One day I dedicate to quiet computer work, and the other I spend the whole day laying down watching TV. Whatever works best for you, try and make a schedule that works WITH your body, and not against it.

It is possible to find balance in a busy work schedule and resting. The balance may tip over one side or the other every so often, but that can be said about many different things in life. But in the end of it all, you can live a life of productivity in your own way, and prioritize taking care of yourself at the same time. Just make sure to watch out for the warning signs!

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