Work-life balance is something most of us work every day trying to achieve. Some do a pretty good job at it, while others struggle with it. Then you throw in chronic illness, and WAM you have an unthinkable task at hand.
I’ve been a single Mom for the last 18 years, and balancing work, kids, and life has always been something that I’ve had to work at, but for the most part I feel that I’ve done a pretty good job with it, with the exception of a complete fail or two along the way.
I managed my work around my kid’s activities, and for the most part it all worked out nicely. And when it didn’t work out nicely, a backup plan was in motion, thanks to my friends and family.
Then came Autoimmune Disease, and it all went to hell…
The whole balance was thrown for a loop. Who am I kidding, there was no balance, it was thrown completely out the window! My previous organized balancing act that I pulled off for years didn’t account for me needing so much time for ME to slow the eff down. My somewhat chaotic, balanced world was turned completely upside down.
Chronic illness not only turns work-life balance into a tailspin, it completely turns your entire world upside down. Or at least until you gain the knowledge you need about your disease, you begin to heal your disease, and you learn to live as normal life as you possibly can with your disease. Even then, it’s tough!
My normal type-A, organized, driven personality hit a brick wall, and it was not pretty.
Throwing chronic illness into the work-life balance mix is like becoming and MMA fighter and not liking to fight! No longer are the things that used to be important, important. Your health and how you feel are top priority now, and a lot of things get overlooked because of it. Yes, even your kids!
And that’s ok…
Your kids, your spouse, or your job that were once TOP priority in everything that you did, now must take a back seat to your health. It all must take a back seat to how you feel, your energy levels, your disease symptoms, etc etc etc. YOU are your top priority now, and that can be a hard pill to swallow for the caretakers of the world. You want to take care of others, not yourself.
Self-care suddenly becomes a necessity for survival, not a popular way of saying that you should have more me time! The balance has shifted, and your priorities have shifted. Life as you have known it, is no more, and things must change whether you like it or not.
For me, I am blessed to have parents and kids that stepped up to the plate in a major way. They took over the responsibility of everything until I was strong enough to begin “life” again. And my kids continue to step up every single day if I need them to. They have come to understand chronic illness in a way that I wish they never had to, and whether they completely understand it or not, they do understand when I just need to “sit”…and do nothing…and recharge.
If you don’t already know this, you will learn this…
YOU and your health need to be top priority when living with chronic illness! If not, your disease will take over, and your life will suffer the consequences. Living with chronic illness is a heavy burden to bear, and is not the easiest path in life.
Putting YOU and your health first will make your life a brighter place to exist, and that work-life-chronic illness balance that we all try to achieve will seem a little less daunting and a lot more achievable.