I am sitting here at work staring at my screen, very uncomfortable with the pain in my lower back and so fatigued I can’t keep my eyes open, trying to get through the rest of my day. Dealing with a chronic pain at work is so not easy; I bet thousands of you put up with it all the time.
So, what do we do? Here in Australia, we typically get paid for 10 sick days a year, so going home every time when feeling unwell is not always an option. (May it be noted that if you are in absolute agony, you should most certainly go home!)
Here are some tips that may be useful for when you need a bit of support at work:
Educate your employer if you are comfortable doing so. You need to be open about your condition, what it entails and what your limitations and abilities are. But make sure they know you are an asset in the company, you may not be able to do certain things, but you can certainly make up for that in other areas. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!
Take regular breaks, even if only for a few minutes. I always find it refreshing to have a little walk around the block (rain or shine) to get some fresh air, let my eyes re-adjust, and to boost a little energy. If you can’t do that, than at least try and get up and do some stretches and get that blood flowing again.
Drink water regularly throughout the day, this will increase your energy and relieve you of some of the fatigue.
Change position often, whatever type of work you may be doing. People with chronic pain have a low tolerance for inactivity, so regular motion is important.
Reduce stress. Is there an opportunity to move some of the more complicated work tasks to tomorrow or another day? Try and work through the easier, less mind and energy consuming tasks.
Be prepared and ensure you have everything at hand. Keep a pillow at work if that makes you more comfortable, or keep a heat bag or hot water bottle at work to use when you are in pain (plus, they are also great to keep you warm on those cold winter days).
What helps you get through the day at work?