Managing health issues while working from home can be a rather difficult task.  Although working from home can provide a fabulous alternative income option to those who can’t work the regular employment route, it can also be quite complex.

I have to admit that I have come across many barriers that I have had to work around over the years.  Many of them have even made me question if I can ever be truly successful.  It has taken me a long time to develop strategies to work around my health issues.

The main issues I have found,  and the strategies I use for overcoming them include:

Motivation

Motivation is certainly not the easiest thing to manage for anyone working from home.  Often the lack of self motivation is top of the list in reasons why working from home doesn’t work for those who ‘give it a go’.  It is very easy to get distracted, for life to get in the way, or indeed just to push work to the end of the to do list.  That is without the added health issues, so imagine what it is like when health gets in the way too!

Personally I have both physical and mental health issues to manage.  I have many days when I just can’t work when my motivation levels are high, but I have a lot more days when I have to battle through the low motivation days.

Strategies To Help
  • Knowing the difference between a low motivation day and a bad health day is vital for me.  It took me quite a long time to learn to distinguish between them, and still I get them mixed up at times.  The main way I was able to manage this was to write a list of indicators.  For example on a bad health day I would often sleep, and a low motivation day I might stay in bed and watch TV.   These were hard to distinguish at first as they are quite subtle differences, but quite easy to distinguish when I know what to look for.
  • One of the best strategies for me was to write my My Own Daily Earning Routine which includes a do everyday section, and additional do if I am able section.  Having something that I can manage to do every day even on a bad health day has made a huge difference to my earning.
  • Learning to be a bit more gentle with myself when I have a bad health day has made a difference too.  I have a tendency to push myself too hard and/or scold myself for not doing more.  Being able to accept I will have bad days when I need to rest and making the most of the better days has also had a positive impact.

Talking to Others

A lot of work from home options involve talking to others on a daily basis.  Recruiting certainly involves having to talk to others a lot.  When I first started working from home I literally couldn’t answer the phone unless I knew who was ringing.  I had such bad panic attacks around other people that I withdrew from any kind of social interaction.  This is obviously not an easy thing to overcome.

Strategies To Help
  • Taking very small steps towards increasing social interaction again in a ‘safe’ environment for me (such as talking to friends and family more on the phone) enabled me to progress with this.  Using social media chat options more frequently with strangers also allowed me to send messages and increase my confidence gradually.  I was able to do this until I was able to send voice messages and eventually progress to talking on the phone.  Now I am even able to do live videos on Facebook!
  • Not having a script and just being myself made these interactions a lot more ‘normal’.
  • Having a plan for dealing with times when I “said something daft”.  For example just laughing it off when I got my words mixed up with a quip like I must stay off those wine gums before ringing people.
  • Remembering that I probably won’t ever need to speak to that person again….

Self Belief 

I CAN do it is a very powerful statement…almost but not quite as powerful as I CAN’T do it.  Recognising that depression and anxiety suck away most self belief and create negative thought processes is the first step to overcoming them.  Remembering past accomplishments AND recognising every small achievement can really help to build (or rebuild) confidence.

Strategies To Help
  • Pay attention to what I tell myself and be careful about the words I use.  I firmly believe that saying things like “You are stupid” (careless, not able, etc etc) is very damaging to self belief.  Because of that I actively monitor my words and thoughts for any self deprecating language.   I now immediately change any that I do say or write when I realise.
  • Set small and achievable targets and recognise when I accomplish them.  I struggle with this at times when I compare what I was able to do in the past, however I have found that I get a lot further when I take small steps than when I try to do too much at once.
  • Challenge the thoughts of I can’t and simply ask myself if that is really true?

Staying Positive

Mindset is a massively important aspect of working from home.  Those who remain positive will have more motivation and self belief than those who do not.  Again mental health issues can make this more difficult as they skew thought processes towards the negative.

Strategies To Help
  • Again monitoring language and being careful about the words used helps with this issue.  In my opinion this is a wider use of language than that mentioned in self belief, for example using words such as ‘never’ (This will never work….), ‘waste’ (this is a waste of time…) ‘less’ (I am doing less….) and general complaining is not helpful.  Of course it is normal to have doubts and frustrations at times, but these can be minimised through active monitoring.
  • Surround yourself with positive people and influences.  Reading books about overcoming issues, or listening to motivational speakers can really influence the mindset.
  • Take a break when tired or feeling overwhelmed allows the chance to recharge the batteries and reset the mind.

Dealing with Negativity

Obviously very much related to the previous issue of staying positive, being able to deal with negativity is a vital skill in this industry.  I have this as a separate issue to distinguish between the internal and external forces.  So, staying positive is an internal mindset issue, whereas dealing with negativity is about the external opinions of others.

Dealing with external negativity is a constant issue when working from home.  Friends and family can be judgmental, asking when you are going to get a ‘proper’ job, tell you it is a scam, or just start to avoid you in case you ask them to join up or buy something.  Some people will look at you in disbelief when you say what you do, and others will tell you stories of how much money their friend lost doing something similar.

As well as the general negativity you also have to deal with people joining your team and then doing nothing, or asking for help then doing the opposite of what you said.  There will be many times when team members contribute to the negativity train.

It can be a very frustrating business!

Strategies To Help
  • Put a good support network in place.  For every negative person you encounter there are those with stories of success.  Surround yourself with people who understand the industry and know that it offers an amazing opportunity.
  • Don’t get into arguments with people or try to convince them to change their attitude.  You do not need to  prove them wrong with information.  When you are successful that is proof enough.
  • Focus on what you want to achieve and celebrate each small success.
  • Put aside time to develop your skills.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

Lack of Consistency

For me personally this is the most difficult issue to deal with.  My health fluctuates almost daily and I have had to learn to work with that.  I have to say I continue to struggle with this issue a lot.  Although working from home is highly flexible a lack of consistency can be chaotic.  I am not sure how many times I have heard or read about the importance of consistency for progress.  I even write about it myself.

Strategies To Help
  • Try to aim for a consistent approach as much as possible.  For me the implementation of my very basic daily routine made a massive difference when I was finally able to develop one that worked for me.
  • Use tools to help.  For example scheduling and automation tools are a real blessing for me.  I am working on writing blog posts and emails in advance and having a resource I can use when health issues impact my ability to work.  Eventually I will get ahead and stay ahead.
  • Be open about having health issues which affect your ability to work in a consistent way.
  • Consider options such as paying others to help you with routine tasks.  Virtual assistants are frequently used by those who work from home.

Concentration

This is another big issue for people who work from home regardless of health issues.  It is very easy to get distracted especially when working online.  It is also often the case that we try to squeeze work related tasks into small gaps around other responsibilities.  For those of us with the addition of health problems that effect concentration this is another big hurdle to overcome.

Strategies To Help
  • Break down tasks into small manageable chunks.  I like to focus on one task at a time and write a list of steps relevant to that.  I also give myself a time limit quite often too, such as with The Hour of Power.
  • Turn off all distractions when possible.  It can be difficult when you need to be online and on social media for example.  In this case focus on the task in hand until it is done, then do others things like reply to PM’s or notifications etc.
  • Work at the right time of day for you.  Some people find it easier to focus in the morning, and others in the evening.  If you have a time of day where you tend to be more productive go with that rather than against it.
  • Take frequent breaks, especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer or phone.  Set an alarm to indicate when you should take a break.
  • Get as much fresh air as possible.  Going outside for even a short walk can really help improve concentration levels.
  • Reduce multi tasking and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Eat and drink sensibly.  Avoiding sugar and caffeine rushes with the associated dips in concentration can really help.  Staying hydrated by drinking water can vastly increase concentration levels.

Pain 

Pain can have a huge impact on ability to accomplish pretty much anything.  It affects concentration, motivation and mood as well as physical tasks.

Strategies To Help
  • Follow strategies to improve concentration and motivation.  Pay specific attention to taking frequent breaks and going for short walks if possible to prevent muscle cramps.
  • Take pain killers when required or use natural remedies such as cold or hot compresses.  Do not use these as a way of extending your body past its current limits though, pain is a signal that something is wrong so don’t ignore it.
  • Make sure to have a comfortable working position that reduces pressure on pain points.
  • Include daily self care in your routine.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Avoid foods that are associated with inflammation.  Information about this can be found here.
  • Stay hydrated. Water can help to reduce muscle pain due to cramping or toxins in the body.
  • Include daily gentle exercise or stretching in your routine.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard and pay attention to your body’s needs.  Pushing through pain takes a lot of energy and can lead to more problems in the end.
  • Include strategies for stress reduction and mindfulness such as meditation.

 

If you have found this post useful please feel free to share it with others.  Thanks in advance to those who do share it, I always appreciate your help in reaching a larger audience!

Ellie xx

 

Facebook Comments

Feel Free to Share:

Related posts: