I recently wrote about how I went self-employed to better manage endometriosis and create a working life that catered to my needs. The experience has been a transitional one, and today I want to talk about the benefits I’ve experienced so far, and how they’ve changed my life with endometriosis.
Less physical activity
This is a really interesting one, because there are two sides of the coin here (which I’ll get into another time). One of the things that super-affected my mental and physical health was that constant rat race of a full-time job. Getting up at the same time every day, rushing to get ready, rushing (or in my case, running) for the train, being squashed on a train among really depressed-looking people, rushing into work, rushing through deadlines, etc.
The difference now is that I can vary the time I get up in the mornings, not hugely, because I still want to have a routine, but if I need an extra half hour, I can.
Instead of running for the train, I spend up to an hour on yoga, meditation, writing in my gratitude journal, and exercising. All of these things really set me up to think more clearly and feel better mentally. Sometimes I think these things are unnecessary tick boxes I’m just going through out of routine. But when I don’t do them I feel foggier, I’m more affected by negative thoughts, and my attention is easily distracted. So, I know they’re worth the time — and surely, this is a much better way to spend the morning than a packed tube carriage.
It’s hard for someone without endo to grasp how much we are coping with at any one moment. While I’m working, I’m often battling fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, feeling unwell, stomach issues, low mood, and aches and pains. Staying focused on a task and doing it well isn’t as easy as putting headphones in and getting on with it. Most days it’s a constant struggle.
Working from home means I can have the comforts around me that make me feel a bit better, such as a hot water bottle, my CBD vape pen, or lots of energizing teas — whatever it may be. When I was in an office, I couldn’t stay in my PJ’s, wrap myself up in a blanket, get up repeatedly to drink endless soothing tea, or microwave my heat pad. Now I can.
The quiet also is super helpful. I often would struggle with hearing other conversations around me or the radio playing, etc. It was hard enough listening to my own brain or being aware of my own body’s actions without everything else going on around me.
Having my comforts and a quiet space enhances my focus and concentration, and I’ve definitely performed better and produced better work since going freelance.
My anxiety has changed in different ways since going freelance. There are ways it has heightened, which I’ll touch upon in the future, but there are many ways it’s reduced as well.
I no longer feel that crazy level of stress I’d experience trying to make it for the train on time every morning. When you’re struggling with chronic fatigue, waking up every morning and getting there on time is seriously hard work (in my experience, anyway), and I’d have a high level of anxiety as soon as I’d wake up.
I no longer have to freak out about my period in the way I did before. I spent three weeks of each month dreading that other week when I’d have to deal with severe endometriosis symptoms in the workplace. This includes always having to think ahead about meetings, second-guessing when it would start, and bringing myself to tell my boss that I needed to go home.
On top of that, the week before my period is often plagued with PMS symptoms, and those symptoms would always send me spiraling into anxiety as I struggled to cope with them and stay functional at work.
These days, I know if I really have to, I can work from my bed (which I have) and can do whatever it takes to manage my symptoms better from home. I can move hours around if I really need to. No one is watching over me, I don’t have to ask someone for permission to work from my bed, and I no longer have that Sunday night dread as I wonder what kind of week it’s going to be and how I’m going to make it through.
Next week, I’ll discuss some of the drawbacks of being self-employed with endometriosis, and how I’m learning to manage them.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.