How do you achieve work-life balance while living with chronic health conditions?  This is a great question which I have been asked on many occasions — and one I used to often ask myself.

For the past 10 years, my health has been up and down.  My autoimmune system is on fire and always seems to be causing inflammation throughout my body. My doctors call it the “grey area”, not able to identify the real cause of all my chronic health issues. I have struggled with microscopic colitis, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis, just to name a few!

I always considered myself a mover and shaker in life — one who would go far and make it in life! When I began to get sick all the time, I just wanted to give up on myself and life. For awhile I thought to myself, “maybe I should go on full-time disability, so I can just stay home and rest.” But who was I kidding?  I could never sit still and would get bored out of my mind!  So I continued to work and tried different jobs until my body could not take it anymore.  

I had to accept the simple, yet hard lesson:  Work.  Life.  Balance.  I discovered in order to continue working (and really living!), I had to find balance.  I had to STOP and listen to what my body was telling me. I had to slow down, rest and eat the right foods.  I began to research online about how to live a healthy balanced life even with health issues– I realized that even with all I have going on I can still work a full time job and be “OK”.

So what do I do now?  I really,really, listen to what my doctors are telling me.  I ask questions, do my own research, and pay attention to when my body tells me enough is enough!  My body gives me clear signals when I have had enough– this is when I have “flair-ups”.This is when I stop and ask myself, ”what was I doing yesterday or what did I eat?”  I take vitamins B12 and D3.  Most importantly, I exercise through my pain — I know crazy, right??  But It works for me.  I swim,  and I have discovered this helps with my inflammation. I also drink more water. I learned with all my running around and with all my issues and taking medication, I was not drinking enough water!!  WATER, the best natural remedy on earth, and yet most of us don’t drink enough of it.

So, how can you achieve work-life balance while living with chronic health issues?  Here are my tips based on personal experience:

  • Work  — know when to take breaks and get some fresh air this will help get you through your day.  Challenge yourself to drink 3- 8 oz. of water throughout the workday In the morning,at lunch,and in the afternoon.  It really works, and I have begun to see such a difference in my skin and overall feeling!
  • Life — learn to let go and exhale!  Enjoy the little things, you will thank yourself later.Trust me, I am just now learning at 40 to exhale!
  • Balance — this is about putting it all together.  Don’t stress out while driving. A smile can go a long way to heal you.Stay positive in the mind — it makes you feel better with a sense of “ I can do this!”  Sleep when your body tells you to — don’t ignore this vital signal..  
  • Connection — Embrace a hug.  It is amazing what a real genuine hug can do for you
  • Laughter — lastly, laugh!  Laughter promotes health and wellness — the physical act of laughing helps in the release of endorphins, so do it for your health and for your happiness!

Author IambyChristina

Christina Cyphers is a patient advocate with a passion for sharing her secrets on health and wellness with other patients. Diagnosed with several chronic conditions, she found a way to achieve balance and health despite these adversities. She has been featured on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website where she teaches patients how to advocate for themselves. She is a motivational speaker, writer and health junkie with a unique perspective to offer!

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