It pains me to say it but I am now starting to see the real benefits of giving up work.
Many of you who have read my blog for a while know how important work is to me. I have always worked and always enjoyed the sense of earning my own money and then being able to spend it knowing I earned that.
I have always had a job in some form or another since I was at school. I worked my summer and easter holidays as a sports coach at kids activity camps, then I was a financial planning administrator when I came home from Canada, I worked in a school uniform shop, bars while at uni down south and also a sports coach, then when I was studying to be a nurse I worked at After School Clubs and also as a care assistant on both the bank and at a nursing home. Then once I graduated and qualified as a nurse I worked full-time as a staff nurse and also on the bank and then doing some lacrosse coaching as well.
It is a very weird experience to now not have any income of my own that I have put in the hard graft to earn. I am dependent on the government and the benefit system.
I hung on with my finger tips to keep my job but I killing myself working. I loved my job but it really was not doing me any good. I was often being asked if I was ok, as I looked so awful but this didnt stop me and I continued to work. I loved being around people and was scared of being on my own (a fear that has in part been realised).
Over the past few months I have really noticed the benefits of not working and it hit home the other day when I had to go to the GP who was shocked at how well she thought I looked and how good she thought my chest was.
I am really pleased that people are noticing how much better I look but am still devastated that for me to look better and feel a bit better I have had to sacrifice something I love.
It has got me at a bit of a sticking point as I really don’t want to be living on benefits for the rest of my life. I want to be able to work and still have the health as well. I need to stop and think about what it is I am going to do with my future. I am lucky in that I have not been spending my time idle and do a lot of volunteering but this is all done on my own terms so if I don’t feel well one day I don’t need to do anything whereas if I am ok I can do as much as I like.
I desperately miss the social aspect of work. I have lost so many friends from work because you just get forgotten about because you are not there. The friends I do have a dwindling as I cant make things I stop being invited and then just lose touch.
I really do hope that soon I will be able to find a job that I can do that allows me to keep the health I have managed to get (although I am on more steroids which is why my health is a bit better but that might come down soon I hope).
I hate accepting that giving up work was the right thing to do but it was and it may well have saved my life. I would really appreciate anyone who is reading this and has gone through a similar situation with their health how they managed to keep positive and if they managed to get a job they were able to do and enjoy.
1 thought on “Realising how giving up work has been good for my health”
Dear Olivia. Like you, I have had to give up work because of my severe asthma. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I was physically unable to do the job which was such an important part of my life. Being able to answer the question ‘what do you do’, earning my own money, being some sort of role model for my daughters (hopefully), and enjoying the satisfaction of being part of a community. It is now nearly 3 years since I had to retire and I now give thanks that I am not working. I know now that, although a very difficult decision to make (and my brilliant GP gave me such sensible advice) it was the right decision. I am so relieved not to have to be constantly having to try and explain to my boss and colleagues about my poor health, why I didn’t want to sit next to a colleague who had a cold because I would end up ill for weeks rather than days, on antibiotics because the viral chest infection had become a bacterial infection that would most probably need at least 2 courses of antibiotics. I would love to work again, and do look, but my asthma has deteriorated (I cannot work out why) so getting another job looks unlikely at the moment.
I have done a great deal of reading about how to keep positive and these are just a few of the things I have learned and try to put into practice, not necessarily very successfully but I do try.
1. I look and give thanks at what I do have, rather than what I don’t. I consider what I can do rather than what I cannot do.
2. Although I do make plans, I try to ensure as much as possible that those plans are flexible, so that they can be changed if I don’t feel up to doing whatever the plan was.
3. I make getting out and walking(with my dog Cassie) a priority whenever I can, as I know walking is so good for my physical and mental well being.
4.I try as much as possible to be accepting of my situation.
5.I try (and I do find this very difficult) to be kind to myself and not get angry, frustrated or disappointed when I cannot do the things I want to because of my asthma.
6. When times are more tough, I try and only take life a day at a time (or an hour at a time) until my lungs improve.
Many best wishes to you Olivia.