Navigating a career is a strategic game within itself. However, navigating the workplace and a productive career with a chronic disease is a whole other game. Balancing both a decent workload and chronic disease may seem like working two full-time jobs. Read these tips below on how you can better manage daily work-life while living with a chronic disease!
Identify barriers and mitigation tactics
Chronic diseases can feel like a rollercoaster. Some days you may feel unaffected by your conditions, while the next day your chronic symptoms feel like they are weighing you down. Although the workday keeps progressing and your workload increases, your conditions may limit you from being fully productive.
Be mindful of triggers that could cause a relapse of severe symptoms. Factors like excessive exercise, stress, dehydration, and infection can cause symptoms to appear. Help reduce stress through meditation, nature walks, yoga, or talk therapy.
Another way to reduce stress is to plan out your week beforehand. While mapping out meetings and assignments, insert time to rest in the middle of the day.
If you are still working from home, instill time to step away from the computer to stretch, take a walk, or listen to a podcast. If you are working in the office, take some to take a lap around the office or grab some tea during the day.
Planning out times for work and rest will help keep you accountable for taking care of responsibilities and taking care of yourself.
Encourage an open dialogue with your team and managers
Being open and honest about having sickle cell is a scary step. Some may feel that this revelation could be used against them when being considered for promotion and projects. However, if you are working in an inclusive environment, be upfront with your team and managers about how your condition may adapt how you work.
The condition does disable you from meeting deadlines, taking on difficult projects, or being committed to your team. However, it may adapt how you work. Instead of constantly being available during traditional work hours, perhaps you save most of the working hours for collaborative work and individual work outside of traditional hours. If your symptoms are flaring up, your team may not be able to reach you immediately and may have to wait until the next business day.