Having sarcoidosis can turn your whole life upside-down. Dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms on a daily basis can affect not only your social and personal life, but also your work life. For many sarcoidosis patients, working is not an option. Applying for disability can be a lengthy and confusing process, so check out this advice from other sarcoidosis patients.
However, for those of you who continue to work, you may find that you need to make adjustments at work to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Consider these ideas for full-time workers living with a chronic illness.
Know your workplace rights
You may not want to disclose everything about your condition to your employer, and that is your right. The laws regarding what your employer can and cannot ask you about your health can be a little confusing, but educating yourself on your workplace rights can save you from some stressful situations.
However, if you are comfortable, informing your employer that you have a condition that requires special attention could benefit you. You could let your boss know that you may need to take more breaks, upgrade to a more comfortable desk, or schedule doctor’s appointments during work hours. Depending on the nature of your job, you could even talk to your boss about working remotely on days when your chronic pain or fatigue really hit you. If you are uncomfortable speaking to your boss directly about your needs, you can seek guidance from someone in Human Resources, or you can see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program.
Make your environment more comfortable
If you have an office job, you understand that sitting all day long is not as comfortable as it sounds. For someone with sarcoidosis, some days are harder than others. Sprucing up your desk with some comfortable accessories could make a difference. For example, you could invest in.
- A foam wrist pillow for typing
- A lower back pillow for your spine
- A fan to keep you cool
- A stool to put your feet up
- A heating pad or ice packs
- A laptop stand to avoid bending your neck
- Relaxing herbal teas, like peppermint or chamomile
As a full-time employee, you spend roughly eight hours a day in your office. It’s practically your home away from home, so you should do everything you can to make it comfortable.
Try to avoid stress at work
Stress has terrible effects on the body. It can raise blood pressure, increase inflammation, and lead to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. It is important for people with sarcoidosis to avoid stress as best they can. This may seem like a tall order for someone who works full time – every job has days that are more stressful than others. However, by keeping an organized schedule, avoiding traveling for work, and even cutting back on hours when needed, you can manage stress more easily. Your job may often feel like the most important thing in your life, but nothing is more important than your mental and physical health.
Use your lunch break wisely
Lunchtime is a great way to break up the work day. You can use your lunch break as a relief from your sarcoidosis symptoms. For example, you could go for a leisurely walk outside on a nice day, relax or meditate in a break room or in a nearby park, do stretches, or even go home and rest if you live close enough to your office. Of course, you should leave enough time to eat during your break, and you should pack a healthy, energizing lunch to get you through the rest of the day.
Relax when you get home
After a long day at work, it is important to relax and decompress. Cook a healthy dinner, drink lots of water, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t try to stretch yourself too thin by running errands after work. Use weekends and your days off to accomplish things like that, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may be too tired to pick up your dry cleaning, take out your trash, or empty your dishwasher. That is where your friends and loved ones come in.
For more tips on working full-time with a chronic illness, check out this article from The Mighty.