Work/Life Balance with Chronic Hives
Last updated: November 2023
One of the most challenging areas of getting to know my chronic hives journey has been navigating when I have flare-ups and how to live normally. I think I took for granted the feeling of waking up and not having to check the mirror to see whether my lip, eyes, or mouth were swollen. Never mind if I had huge patches of hives on my face. How do you explain that you feel okay, but just look quite uncomfortable to those around you?
Many people talk about having to navigate through the work life balance. Making sure that they make time for their family, their friends and most importantly, themselves. But, self care means so much more to those who have chronic hives.
It means watching what you eat to keep histamine levels low. It means taking the time to check in with your doctors. It means finding joy in the good days. It means finding peace within the unknown. I believe that the most frustrating part of chronic idiopathic hives is the unknown.
The unknown is a scary place to live sometimes. It’s expecting the worst even though you are doing your best to combat. Personally, I have shifted my thought of the unknown flare up to not waiting for the shoe to drop, but counting the good days I have between flare ups.
If the balance I am trying to achieve is working I may not have a flare up for a week or two at a time. Which is great! But, when I don’t find that balance, and I am burning the candle at both ends, those days between are shorter.
Chronic hives flare ups
I will say with that balance, for me at least, I can find guilt in saying ‘no’ in things that I normally would find joy in. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I have had to rain check a dinner with a friend or reschedule a weekend outing because my flare ups have been too much or I can feel that my stress level is rising. And it makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel like a bad friend. But, I know that I am doing the best I can in the moment for me. And luckily, I have found a good tribe of friends that understand my situation and always make room for me to heal, mentally and physically.
So how can you make the best of work/life balance when you never know when a flare up is around the corner? I don’t know if there is a one size fits all answer. Taking care of you may look like saying ‘no’ to yet another meeting, or taking a personal day to rest, or finding moments of your day to block time for a walk or fresh air. Whatever it is that works for you, make sure you find it. Because amongst all of the other stressors in life, chronic hives can consume your lifestyle, only if you let it.
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