Balancing Self-Care and Productivity With Allergies
Last updated: April 2023
In our society, our worth and success are strongly tied to our productivity levels. But who decides what productivity even means, let alone what it looks like for each of us?
Who defines productivity?
The short answer is ourselves. However, it's often difficult to remember that we can define our meaning of productivity in a "hustle and grind" culture. And it's even more difficult to remind ourselves that our productivity may look a lot different than another's, which is okay.
Health conditions put a pause on productivity
Before I started the process of TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) and ended up bedridden for several years, I was always on the go. And I mean all the time. I was extremely ambitious, driven, and motivated.
I was constantly on the go and never took much time to rest or be alone. When I started withdrawing from topical steroids and was left bedridden, I was forced to sit with myself – for a LONG time.
Allergies made me reframe my outlook
While dealing with TSW, eczema, allergies, and other health conditions, I've had to re-frame my outlook on productivity and what that means. With any chronic illness, our idea of a productive or "good" day typically looks different than the average person's.
Getting out of bed is progress
When I'm going through a bad flare-up, whether it is a skin flare-up or an increase in allergy symptoms, some days, it's a battle to get out of bed. When I struggle to get my day started, it means I usually get less done in the day.
However, there was a time in my life when I couldn't get out of bed because of horrible symptoms, so I had to remind myself that even getting out of bed was an improvement.
The impact of social media
In the age of social media, it's even harder to resist comparing ourselves to others. We see others, maybe even those dealing with the same conditions as us, seemingly accomplishing more than us.
But no 2 people are the same, and none of our journeys are the same. And sometimes, more isn't always better. If there's anything I have had to learn during this journey over the past decade or so, it is how to balance seeing others' posts without comparing myself to what I see. And what's even more challenging is forgiving myself when I don't feel as productive or "successful" as someone else.
Everyone has a unique set of needs
Even for those who aren't dealing with allergies or another chronic health condition, there is always something we are going through in life. And the emotion of those experiences connects us all as humans. But our lives are all individual, just as we are all so very different from each other.
Stress can manifest in our body
Often, when we ignore our bodies and keep hustling and pushing ourselves to keep going and accomplish more, we burn out. Our body can manifest our inability to say "no" and to rest as various physical symptoms.
This was likely one of the reasons my TSW and eczema journey has been quite long and intense because of my personality before this. I was constantly on the go and didn't rest until my body forced me to.
How to balance productivity and stillness
Now, it is still a daily learning experience of balancing between doing and being. And remember that some days – it is okay just to be. I don't have to "do" anything to be worthy, and productivity can look like allowing my body and myself to rest, too.
How often do you connect with others who have food allergies?