Holding down a job while dealing with the pain and fatigue of a chronic illness can be more than a little challenging. Try these tips to help you manage arthritis symptoms at work:
- Organize your day. Schedule your workday to accommodate your symptoms. If you feel especially tired in the mornings, ask your manager if you can start later – 10 or 11 a.m. You can also ask for flextime or to telecommute from home a couple of days each week.
- Conserve energy. Try to balance physical tasks – like lifting boxes – with desk activities so you don’t tire yourself out. If you work in a large company, try to schedule your meetings in the same area to prevent excessive walking.
- Stock up on arthritis-friendly office supplies. Ask your company for tools to make you more comfortable at work. Voice recognition software, a headset, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, an adjustable chair and rocking footrest are just a few ideas.
- Take breaks. Every 20 to 30 minutes, stand up and walk or stretch for at least 5 minutes to keep your joints flexible.
- Use mobility aids. If you have trouble walking, ask for a scooter to help you get around the office.
- Make the switch. Discuss with your supervisor whether you can take on more duties that are less strenuous on joints in exchange for some you currently have. This way you are putting in the same amount of work.
- Choose wisely. Understand the limitations of your disease as you are choosing a new or changing your current job.