Coping when unable to work (Part 2). Thursday January 9, 2014
Acceptance and adjustment to life, when poor health renders us unable to work, is no easy feat. Here are four practical "dos" and one "don't" that may be of benefit. (If reading this during a bad depression, please disregard. Take the principles by all means, but these are not rules or intended to provoke pressure, they are merely suggestions for those who feel up to the task of implementing them.)
DO reduce stress. Stress exacerbates the physical symptoms of any illness, while stress reduction can make symptoms bearable. It's true, we can't erase stress in this life but we can be aware of our reaction to stressful situations. We may have to remind ourselves continually to be calm; our life, our health is at stake.
DO get dressed. No matter how tempting it maybe to remain in your dressing gown and pyjamas, get showered and dressed. For me, getting dressed miraculously changes my whole mindset. Once dressed, I feel more in control and can go about my daily tasks in a more organised and constructive manner. (It also means the added bonus of not needing to fling myself behind the sofa if the postman or a visitor should knock.)
DO establish a daily routine. Obviously, it's a given that flexibility and adjustment will always be necessary according to what kind of day you are enduring. The very fact you are unable to work proves that pressure or rigidity will not enhance how you feel. However, attempting to get up at the same time, to go to bed at the same time, to eat healthily and not skip meals or, continuing to keep a diary for appointments and arrangements - things like these will go a fair old way in preserving our self-esteem.
DO set reasonable and attainable goals. Setting goals keeps us looking forward instead of gazing at what we were once able to do. Even if the goal is seemingly small - write it down. It maybe to "simply" get dressed this week. Reaching a goal gives us a feeling of accomplishment and motivates us to look forward. This builds our often floundering confidence.
DON'T compare yourself (or your goals) to anyone else, even someone with the same illness. Your emotional, physical and mental makeup differs from every other individual. We couldn't expect our little toe to stand in for our nose, or visa versa, for the day and yet both body parts are important. To compare ourselves is futile and often disheartening. Resist the urge to compare yourself.
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