The Sounds of Advice #49: Finding Balance with an Invisible Illness
Balancing an invisible illness, be it mental or physical, with school or work obligations.
Aisling: It can feel exhausting both physically and mentally to balance an invisible illness with school, work or other obligations. It's best to try and take it day by day. If there are bigger goals that have to be met, try setting smaller goals over time that will eventually lead you to your bigger goals.
Vent when you feel the need to someone that you trust & that tries to help & understand your situation.
If things start to feel too overwhelming set aside everything else and take some time for you. Your health is important and you need to take care of yourself first before being able to take care of everything else.
Sandy: I have struggled with depression for many many years myself. Most people wouldn't know this. I have found ways to cope with it, but I also know when I need to see a Dr about it when it gets too bad. At work when it hits me if I can I try to take a break to kinda get my mind straight again. If I can't do that I just try to focus in the good things in my life. My kids and boyfriend and that helps sometimes its very hard to deal with at work. However, I do handle it the best I can. When I go home I can get it under control for sure because my kids always seem to know how to make me smile and laugh no matter what. My kids keep me pretty grounded though and that is what I always use to try to focus on.
Michaelle: The two most important ways to best balance invisible illnesses (whether they are physical, mental, and/or both) with work and/or school obligations is with pace and moderation. Only you know what that pace may be. Your doctors can best advise of limits to activities or outings, but you know your body and what it can handle. Next, not overdoing it or underdoing is most beneficial even if you don't have an invisible illness. Keeping a steady pace that works best for you, along with a steady amount of activities such as work and/or school obligations will be a big help in the balance of life responsibilities and an invisible illness(es).
Lastly, do not compare yourself to anyone else even if they share the same invisible illness(es). Not everyone has the same symptoms.
Kate: This is something that I still struggle with daily. It's hard to find the perfect balance. The first step is knowing your limitations. But even then it's hard trying to make things work. By the time I get home from work, my energy is more than spent and it's hard to find the energy to do anything else. If I force myself to keep going, I'll be running on fumes and pay for it the next day. The only thing that helps me is to plan ahead. I have a planner that I write down everything I need to do in and try to fit it into my week so that I'm not doing too much all at once. It doesn't always work out that well, but it's the only thing that seems to work for me.
Just remember, only do what you are physically able to and don't feel bad if you can't do everything. And some days it's okay if the only thing you did was get out of bed. Stay strong!