Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Anna Baumann
5 Simple Tips for Working with Graves Disease
Graves Disease feels different for everyone. For some, it’s so debilitating that they truly can’t work. For a while, it was like that for me too. I’m better now, but I still wouldn’t work if I didn’t have to. It’s not that I hate my job because I don’t. It’s just that some days it’s hard to handle the peopley parts. I see posts all the time in Graves support groups about Gravesters who have quit their jobs. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice about it. I have to go, but I make the best of it. In case you’re in the same boat, here are my 5 simple tips for working with Graves Disease.
Like Your Job
Liking what you do and where you do it is half the battle. I’m not saying you have to happy-dance your way out the door every day. But if you’re not at least content with what you do or where you’re doing it, think about making a change.
It’s easy to pinpoint reasons we don’t like a job when they’re physical like the hours or the commute. The emotional stuff is harder to identify. I’ve recently found that journaling is a great way to get in touch with my feelings and the things that trigger my physical and emotional issues. If you cringe just thinking about your job but aren’t sure why, try some self-reflection.
There were times when I was first diagnosed, that I could barely drag myself out of bed to do something fun, let alone go to work and be productive. I finally realized that I was happiest when I worked in a small office. The family atmosphere with fewer coworkers meant less drama, less stress, and a schedule with set hours. So I moved on and found a new job. It didn’t happen overnight, but just making the decision and knowing I was moving towards something else made things bearable.
If it’s the work itself that you can’t do, look into a career change. It’s scary and will take time, but you’ll feel better once you admit it to yourself and have a plan for moving on. In the meantime, talk to your boss and see what you can do at least to the point that you don’t dread going in every day.
The combination of brain fog and exhaustion can make working feel like a big hot mess. Then you get home from work, and have to deal with dinner and family-type people. That means even more mess, which is really just stress with an M. Us Gravesters don’t need that!
Figure out the days you have the most time to shop, prepare, and clean up, and make those your meal prep days. Even better, have your groceries delivered. It doesn’t just save time and energy, it also saves money because you’re less likely to impulse buy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I do it all the time. Amazon Fresh and Instacart are two of my closest friends!
Either make a few different meals, or enough of one thing to last a few days. If you have a family don’t worry, they’ll get used to leftovers. I’m pretty sure no one has ever died of eating the same thing a few days in a row.
I know that meal prepping is a popular thing and people get pretty fancy with it. There are all kinds of cool accessories you can get like cookbooks and fun container sets. If that excites you then go for it. New hobbies are fun! But if the thought of something new stresses you out, know that meal prep doesn’t have to mean anything more than planning ahead for your weekly meals. The point is to be prepared so you’re not running to the store every day after work, and then racing back home to get something on the table.
Create A Nightly Routine
It goes without saying that you always need a good night of restful sleep. Get to bed at a time that will give you a full eight hours.
But before bedtime, at the end of each day, prepare as much as you can for the next. Make lunch(es), pack work/school bags, and layout clothes. Whatever you need in the morning that can be done ahead of time, do it the night before. Make a checklist so you remember everything you want to do before you get in bed at night.
Your nightly routine will have a huge impact on your work life! Not only will you fall asleep easier knowing you’re well-prepared, but you also won’t open your eyes to instant panic because of all you have to do before you head out the door.
Wake Up Early
If you’re running late before you even leave the house, you’re in a cloud of stress before you even start working. But the good thing about running late stress, is that it’s totally preventable!
Set an alarm so that it wakes you up FIFTEEN MINUTES earlier than you need to be awake. If you’re someone who snoozes ten times then figure that into the time you set so that you’re getting out of bed FIFTEEN MINUTES before you need to be. Either that extra fifteen minutes will get eaten with some unforeseen issue that would have made you late, or you’ll have a few quiet moments to yourself before you leave the house. I personally wake up a half hour earlier so I can really take my time. Whatever amount of time you decide on, just make sure it’s enough that you have a smooth and peaceful start to your day.
This Alarm Clock will get you out the door on time!
Make Yourself Comfortable
Graves causes stomach issues and a lot of us are on special diets. Stock a drawer for snacks so you have things that you can eat when you need something. I started a “treat drawer” in my office and now there are a few of us that take turns keeping it stocked. Keep water, tea, or whatever you like to drink at work too so you’re hydrated throughout the day. Bring whatever you need to feel calm and comfy. If space is limited, talk to your boss. As long as you aren’t dragging in a down comforter and a bottle of wine, there shouldn’t be a problem.
These are all pretty small things when you really look at it. But when you have a chronic illness small things don’t feel small. I know that because I live it too. But it also goes the good way, because even small things can make a really big difference! I hope that one, two or all five of these tips help you achieve a happy work life! 🙂
“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go.” ~ The Seven Dwarfs