We’re getting back on a regular schedule, guys. In the meantime, one more post from a lovely writer who’s taking us in a new direction: working from home with a chronic condition! Here is a contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt, please give her a warm welcome.
Do you find it increasingly difficult to commute to work every day due to your condition? Perhaps you even find that workplace stresses are making you feel worse. You may be considering working from home if you find that medical appointments are difficult to fit in around working hours. However, working from home is a big commitment, so it is worthwhile to consider the pros and cons before making such a decision.
When you work remotely or freelance, there is a different kind of pressure. It is less overbearing because colleagues and bosses are more distant. However, deadlines are still there and even if these are flexible, work has to be done within a reasonable time limit or the client will look elsewhere. You are however, freer to set your own hours, manage your own workload and to take on as many projects as you can realistically handle – if you are a freelancer. For remote workers, you have more freedom to choose hours, but there are still exact workload expectations from your employer.
Freedom may relax you, but working from home is not stress-free even if you are in a comfortable environment. Sufferers of chronic pain may find that working from home, with a more relaxed work schedule, will ease some of their pains. This is because stress can exacerbate conditions, but also because you can find a way to work in your home that is more physically comfortable. A happy mind is going to help make a happier body.
Self-discipline is needed to ensure that you do not wind up working through the night to complete projects. Without the pressure of being watched or having set targets to meet, it can be easy to procrastinate. Try to separate your workspace from your home space to ensure that there are no distractions.
It is possible to play psychological tricks on yourself to make you feel like you go for a walk and arrive at work (even though you’ve really come back home) and when you finish your work, go out and come back again. While at work, you need to resist the temptation of the TV, of the fridge, and social media, and set yourself reasonable goals, targets, and a good time to just stop. However, one bonus is if you are freelance, if you have a day when the pain is too much, you can scratch it as a work day, and pick up the next day when you are feeling better or you can work in bed.
Time for Family
When you arrive home from work, you may feel tired and in pain, which makes it more difficult to spend quality time with your kids. Your time at home is also limited by your commute. This may prevent you from going on the school run or attending your children’s extracurricular activities. By being a home worker, you can fit family time in during the day as opposed to the evenings when you may be too tired to play games or run around with the kids. It is easier to take days off to care for sick children and to pick them up from school in the afternoon.
Lack of Relationships
You may find that you miss making new working relationships with like-minded people when working from home. Chatting with colleagues or working with people on a project can be a nice distraction when you suffer from chronic pain, but working at home can let you dwell on the pain you are feeling. Mental health issues are key for people working from home – the solitude can be too much. However, it is also easier to take breaks, do exercises, and go out for lunches to see friends or family. By breaking up your day, you can distract yourself, and find some of the positives in life which help dull pain.
Freedom for Leisure
You may have always wanted to take a certain course or try out a new leisure activity that didn’t fit around your working hours. When you work from home, you can make time for more things that you love and organize your schedule to accommodate hobbies. This also means therapy, trying Qigong, Tai Chi or meditation to manage and reduce pain, and to fix the fundamental underlying cause if possible.
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it all and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org!