Trying to Balance Work and Life with RA Is Exhausting

Last updated: June 2021

I recently accepted a part-time position as a patient advocate at the Hospital for Special Surgery. And by part-time, I mean 9 am to 5 pm, four days a week. The day I don’t work, I have school.

This means that I am commuting via public transportation every day, which is exhausting in and of itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for this job opportunity. I work with amazing people and am doing what I love. But I’ve learned first-hand that it is really hard to manage work and life and RA.

Work and life balance with rheumatoid arthritis

Like really hard. I’m lucky if I get home, eat dinner, and then fall asleep on the couch. Some nights, I want to go to bed right when I get home.

And because of other commitments, three days a week, I get home around 6 pm and the other two nights at or later than 8 pm.

How do people do it?

I really don’t know how people do it. And because I have been a student for so long, I have been lucky that, until I moved from Michigan to New York in August 2013, I have had a pretty flexible schedule, where the majority of my time hasn’t explicitly been spoken for.

Until now.

Completely wiped out by RA fatigue

And now all I have are the weekends, which means cramming in school work and trying to relax a little before it is back to reality on Monday.

So needless to say, if fatigue from RA wasn’t enough, I am now completely wiped out all the time.

I’m sort of ashamed to say that last week I fell asleep at my desk at work.

Mondays and Fridays seem to be the hardest.

I wondered the impact of RA symptoms on careers choices

I have sort of always wondered since I got sick what life would look like for me in terms of working. I made the decision to forgo a career in academia for a lot of reasons, but the main ones were that I didn’t want to spend my limited time and energy doing something that I wasn’t fully committed to, and I found it difficult to imagine what having to go through tenure review would be like, given my illnesses.

I always knew that this would be a difficult and challenging aspect of being chronically ill, of really wanting to be the best I can be at something, while still admitting the limitations that I have to work through.

Adapting to the changes of RA

I’m trying to give myself time to acclimate to this new schedule and lifestyle. However, it is really putting a damper on things. I don’t really have the time or energy to exercise, go grocery shopping, or really anything else.

I would love tips from anyone who has found a way to successfully balance work, life, and RA.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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