When you leave your 9-5 job to follow your passion and become your own boss, there’s a part of you that expects it to be relaxing. You work for yourself, after all—there’s no one to give you a hard time if you cut out early sometimes, and you can choose your own clients. What you don’t necessarily anticipate are the long hours you’ll spend at your desk, not only pursuing your passion project but also figuring out the business side of things. When you have arthritis, you feel these long hours even more. Working long hours on your computer can make the muscles in your back and wrists tighten up more than ever, leaving you feeling achy and uncomfortable. So how do you pair arthritis and entrepreneurship? Here are some tips.
Treat Your Arthritis
The most important thing you can do is you are trying to pair arthritis and entrepreneurship is to treat your arthritis the best that you can. Over the counter medications can help reduce swelling, as can alternating ice and heat. Free Your Spine can help you figure out how to treat and reduce chronic back pain. Yoga and stretching are also great ways to help loosen your joints and keep yourself working the best you can. The more that you treat your arthritis, the less it will interfere with your ability to start your own business.
One of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur is the fact that it’s a job that comes with no benefits—no paid sick days, no vacation days, and no built-in health insurance. But if you have arthritis, health insurance is a necessity. Prioritize getting health insurance. If you’re married, it’s sometimes as easy as getting added to your spouse’s insurance, but if that’s not an option for you, signing up for some sort of health insurance will protect you if your arthritis worsens.
Take Advantage of Flexible Hours
One of the best things about being your own boss is that you get to set your hours. While you may be putting in longer hours at first than you were at your 9-5, you get to choose which hours those are. Make your hours work for you. If you know, for example, that your arthritis is particularly bad when you first wake up, don’t schedule your meetings or other needs during the earliest hours of your day.
Another way you can take advantage of your flexible hours is to work frequent breaks into your schedule. Doing so allows you to stretch and get exercise throughout the day, keeping your body loose and oiled.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Eating healthy often goes out the window when you’re first starting up your business, but when you are also combatting arthritis, you can’t afford to let your diet slide. Focus on eating whole foods that reduce inflammation while avoiding excess salt, sugars, and fats. Processed foods are some of the worst foods that you can eat when you have arthritis. Pinterest has a lot of great ideas for quick recipes that reduce inflammation.
Modify Your Work Space
When you work from home, you get to design your office. Make your work space work for you by including things like standing desks and ergonomic keyboards and mice to minimize the impact of your sedentary lifestyle on your arthritis.
Plan for Bad Days
With arthritis, not all days are created equal. Some days, the sun will be shining, the stars will align, and you’ll have so much energy you’ll think you’re a teenager again. Other days, a storm will blow in and you’ll barely be able to move from your bed. Entrepreneurship means that you don’t have to put in the same amount of time every single day—at least, you don’t have to if you build some cushion into your schedule. By working extra on the days that you feel good and always padding your deadlines with a little cushion, you can ensure that one bad day—or even a couple—don’t have a detrimental effect on your business.
Pairing arthritis and entrepreneurship is no easy feat—but then, very little about becoming an entrepreneur is easy. With grit, determination, and some creative thinking, it’s possible to build a successful business while battling arthritis pain. The more that you can think outside the box with managing both your business and your arthritis, the more likely you are to achieve the financial freedom and comfortable lifestyle you want.