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Work is a big part of our lives- Your Best Life, 6 ways to manage chronic illness at work

Nature Picture: Wednesday October 4th, 2023. This is who greeted me after getting off the water this morning from practice.

Although chronic illnesses present challenges for the employees who experience them as well as for their managers, taking thoughtful steps to address these difficulties and maintaining open communication can help create a supportive and productive work environment for everyone.

Here are some tips for managing chronic illness at work. To understand employees’ perspectives, leaders also may benefit from this advice.

1. Be honest with yourself.

Your illness is a condition that you are trying to manage, and you shouldn’t deny it just because you’re at work. If you’re experiencing symptoms, acknowledge and approach them with care rather than working until you crash.

Be honest with yourself, both physically and emotionally.

2. Find a balance between work and health. Find a way to do something you enjoy everyday when you wake up in the morning- this sets your day.

Many people put work before their health, but that shouldn’t even be an option. Your condition doesn’t have to prevent you from thriving in your career, but you need to take care of yourself first.

We’ve seen folks who become physically or emotionally unable to do the work but are scared to talk with their employer.

Working beyond your physical and/or mental limits can result in poor work quality and increased health risks, neither of which is worth proving a point to yourself or to your boss. You have a legitimate reason to slow down — don’t ignore it. Find a healthy way to get work done without exhausting your body or mind.

3. Disclose your diagnosis sensibly.

You don’t have to tell anyone about your condition unless you want to. However, depending on the severity of it, consider disclosing the information to your boss, especially if it interferes with your job.

“Part of the challenge an employee faces at the outset of an illness is determining what to share with their employer,”

However, be mindful of what and how much you disclose, as well as which people you speak to — specifically about mental health issues. “There is psychiatric stigma and prejudice and discrimination. Though there are increasing efforts to deal with and decrease] public stigma … it’s still there.

4. Prepare for sick days.

If you expect your illness to conflict with your work schedule or responsibilities, alert your employer ahead of time.

Employers do appreciate knowing as soon as possible so they can plan for that.

5. Know your rights.

As an employee with a chronic health condition, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations, like flexibility, extra feedback or supervision time, additional instructions on assignments and, most importantly, support from your company.

Hoping you all find your balance to live your best life.

Danielle Pointon

Live Blue Consulting

PS- one of the gateways of dealing with difficult problems is to get to know yourself really well through inner work. Live Blue Consulting offers a 30 day inner guided work reset.

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