5 Tips To Manage Lupus With Work
Last updated: August 2023
Having lupus is a full-time job with no pay and no benefits. Thankfully, many are still able to work. So, most of us have to work part- or full-time in order to pay the bills and to ensure we get adequate health insurance. In the beginning, it was such a struggle learning how to balance my lupus diagnosis and my full-time job. But, over time, I was able to push through and make it all work out. Here are my top 5 tips that helped me during my transition.
5 tips for working with lupus
1. Having a great boss/manager
An excellent boss makes a world of a difference. My managers were super understanding and compassionate about my diagnosis and it was very easy for me to open up with them.
I was in the office 8 hours a day, so my coworkers became my second family. It was great that I was able to share this chapter of my life with them and they accepted it with open arms. They understood that I would have multiple doctors appointments and always asked how I felt. They never second guessed if I was feeling sick or made me feel guilty about taking time off if needed. If, I did not have not have good support system at work, I probably would have left and found a new job. Please note, you are not legally required to let your employer know about your health condition, but for me it was just easier letting them know.
2. Ask about work accommodations
When the number of Covid cases were rising, I was really scared to be commuting and taking the train into the office. I was so paranoid I would get sick so I asked if I could work full-time from home. They agreed, and soon the lockdown happened in NYC and most of my team were working from home full-time as well.
I am happy to say that I still work from home and it has helped tremendously. I get more sleep and I don’t have to worry about the germs in the office or my commute. I also am able to sneak in some naps on my lunch breaks. Other accommodations to ask for are flexible work hours. Some people might need more time in the morning to commute and their work hours would be adjusted to 10am-6pm or work intermittent hours throughout the day until their job was competed.
3. Learn to juggle priorities
Before getting sick, I was on super work mode. I would work even on my lunch breaks and would stay late if I had to meet a deadline. But, with a chronic illness I realized that there is always tomorrow so we don’t have to overwork ourselves. It’s all about balance and figuring out what is priority for the day. If it’s not priority we can shift that task to the next day. I learned that we need to give ourselves a break and not create unnecessary stress.
4. Stay on top of your medications
Sometimes work gets so busy you might forget to take your meds. If I know I have to take any medications during work hours I will set an alarm on my phone so I’ll never miss a dose. When I had to go into the office, I also ensured that I had my pill organizer in my work bag and would refill it every week. Medication adherence is key to ensuring flares and symptoms are minimized.
5. Ask for help
It is okay to ask for help. Especially if there is a tight deadline or if you are just not feeling well. Don’t be shy. Let your manager or coworkers know so they can help assist or take some of that burden off of you.
What other tips do you have to ensure a good work/life balance with your lupus diagnosis?
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?