Recently, I’ve been feeling sluggish and lacklustre. It’s not necessarily tiredness, but low energy. My level of activity deteriorated since deciding to freelance, and while this decision has helped me with managing endometriosis, I’ve also felt that my well-being has reduced in certain ways.
Exercise has been a huge catalyst for change in the way I think about and experience my body, and it also moved me out of a very heavy period of depression. Being active reminds me just how strong and incredible my body can be, even with endometriosis. The mental boost I get from exercise, or even just taking a short walk to the shops, is so noticeable that I am starting to see what it’s like to live without it.
In a previous column, I explained why working freelance triggered my anxiety. Today I want to explore the ways that we can bring a higher level of activity into our freelance routines to help us feel better and healthier, even with endometriosis.
Try a standing desk
Standing desks can help with the mental and physical fatigue that begins to kick in, especially around the afternoon. I always feel better mentally during and after physical activity, and notice how standing at the kitchen counter to work picks me up when I’m beginning to slide downhill.
You can buy standing desks, which are adjustable, to move easily from siting to standing (and vice versa), or you could make your own. There also are desk mounts and desk risers, which you can just pop onto your existing desk when you want to change your position.
Just be aware of what your body feels capable of. There are guides online for how to do it safely and also how to get used to the transition, as it can take some getting used to!
Get Outside First Thing
I used to live in a flat share by the Thames when I got into the habit of running along the river in the mornings when I first woke up. I know how good I feel when I go outside first thing in the morning; it wakes me up and changes the way I am feeling emotionally and mentally. Science is now backing up my experience – from green spaces to exercise, they all have an incredible impact on our mental health.
Yet, I find it so hard to wake up in the mornings that sometimes going outside for a walk seems impossible. My plan going forward is to spend one day a week where I wake up, throw on a cap and some shades (so I don’t fuss about how I look), and go walking. Even if it’s just up the road and back, it’s a start!
Book a class
I’ve talked about this a few times now, but when I was in employment, it was so hard to make it through the day and interact with others. By the end of the day, I really had no energy left to get myself to a class and be among more people.
Yet recently, I’ve been craving – yes really, craving – going to a yoga class. I miss the guidance of a teacher and the feeling of being in a room full of people, all looking after themselves on the mat.
Now I that I have alone time and I am not spending all my energy on just making it through the day, I have the desire to go to a class. Even if it’s just once a week or once a month, a class will help me get me out of the house and my head, and get into my body.
It’s so easy to stay stationary for long periods of time when we’re working from home. It might sound simple and like it’s not going to do much, but moving could have a big difference on your overall health.
When I’m sitting for long periods of time, I can’t focus properly and start thinking negatively about my work because my brain is getting bored and distracted. According to Travis Bradberry, PhD, the human brain works in flows, stating that “the brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15–20 minutes).”
Working for an hour and then getting up, and giving yourself a 15-minute break actually can help you feel more productive. That 15-minute break to move may help you feel more positive about your work, and help boost your mood. I love using YouTube for quick exercises. A 10-minute work out could help give you the break you need, and help you feel better about your body.
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.