It’s undeniable how much I am benefiting from being self-employed to support my endometriosis.
I am stronger, calmer, and happier. I feel as if I am becoming the person I know I am capable of being, but couldn’t when my main focus in life was just scraping through a day at work.
Having said all of this, one of the areas I am struggling with is staying active enough. Exercise actually helps our bodies and minds to better manage endometriosis, and I’ve explored my relationship with exercise in previous posts. The positive feelings and differences I’ve experienced from exercise have been so helpful to me that I want to get back on track as soon as possible.
In my last job, I walked 30 minutes both ways to and from work. I found it so hard to wake up in the mornings that I often overslept, so it usually was a stressful and panicked walk, but it felt good to get my body moving.
I also would attempt to do some yoga or strength training in the mornings. My aim at the beginning was 20 minutes, but as the mornings got harder and I spent more and more time trying to get out of bed, these became 5-minute sessions. Still, even those felt better than nothing at all.
Now I am getting a bit more sleep in the mornings and starting work slightly later than the average office day demands. This is really helping with my fatigue, but it is still limiting the time I have to exercise. My aim is to get up early enough to do a much longer workout, but because I’m giving myself more time to sleep, I still have to squeeze in only 5 or 10 minutes, or sometimes, nothing at all. Another issue is that unless I’m going to a coffee shop first thing, I won’t get outside for a walk in the morning, so I don’t often get that wakeup that comes from breathing in fresh air and being out in daylight.
I know that exercising makes me feel stronger both mentally and physically; it improves my self-esteem, it gives me energy, and it makes me feel so much more alive — and there’s science to back it up. When I saw exercise only as a punishment for eating too much, I saw it as an enemy; I saw it as the PE teacher making me do a sport I hated when I was 13. But now that I know the real benefits of exercise, I miss it.
Last week, I ran a workshop on endometriosis in collaboration with a yoga teacher, and it felt amazing. I left the session feeling invigorated, full of ideas, and happy. I love being cozy at home, and I love having the option to work from bed all day, but it doesn’t give me the get-up-and-go, the resilience, or the mental strength that activity does. It helps tremendously with my stress levels, with reducing my chronic fatigue, and with keeping me calm. But I now know I need a bit of both worlds to feel the best I can.
One of my main issues is the anxiety I wrote about last week. Though it’s getting better, trying to fit in the extra sleep I need in the mornings, working out, meditating, getting ready, and starting at a time I feel my clients will expect (which is totally all in my head) can make my mornings tense. I’d prefer to sleep in, do a smaller amount of exercise, and start “on time” than experience the panic that I feel when I try to fit in a half-hour workout and start work later.
My anxiety is definitely beginning to lessen over time, and as it does, perhaps I’ll get to a point where I feel as if I can do all of these morning activities and start working at 10:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. But for now, I’m looking for ways to fit in activity throughout my day and not just in the morning.
Freelancing takes adjusting to, and I am still in that adjusting phase to make it work for my endometriosis in the ways I know it can. But it takes experiencing one way of being to know that you want another way of being. Now that I’ve done several weeks working from my sofa and a coffee shop bench, I know that my body wants me to be more active, and I know it’s going to help.
So, in my next column, I’ll look into the ways you can make your day or week more active when working from home to help improve your mental and physical well-being, and ultimately, feel stronger and healthier with endometriosis.
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.