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Managing Your Health And Your Dog Business

Holly Leake
“Behind every chronic illness is just a person trying to find their way in the world.”
– Glenn Schweitzer
Nothing prepares you for chronic illness. When you pictured pursuing your passion and starting a business, I bet you never considered that your health would become a mitigating factor. Most assume that they will be healthy up until at least retirement age, but the sad fact is that chronic health problems are becoming more common in younger people.

Thousands of people in the UK alone, are suffering from diseases, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Inflammatory bowel disease, MS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, just to name a few.

 To live with chronic pain, is to also struggle with the consequences of such pain, such as fatigue, stress, anxiety and even depression. I can personally attest that this makes running a business extremely taxing on both your body and mind, however, there are steps that you can take to manage your health alongside your business. 

Accept Your Limitations

“Don’t fight your pain; you can’t win.
The paradox of recovery is that you have to surrender to win.
Accepting what you cannot change makes the difference.”
Chronic pain is like a prison you cannot escape. You want to work and be busy, but the pain has other plans and sometimes you are at its mercy. It drains your energy and limits what you can achieve each day, leading to feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. You can’t even enjoy resting because you dwell on everything you should or could be doing. It’s so difficult coming to terms with no longer being able to work for as many hours or fulfil certain roles, but the longer you fight it, the harder it will be for both you and your business.
 Although it is easier said than done, you have to accept your limitations. If you don’t, you place unnecessary pressure on yourself and ultimately set yourself up for failure. Being in pain is not a weakness, neither is doing what you need to do, to alleviate it. Enduring pain and doing your best despite your difficult circumstances, makes you one of the strongest people on the planet and whether you believe that or not, it is the truth. So avoid focusing on what you can no longer do, so it doesn’t prevent you from achieving what you can do. 

Be Kind To Yourself

“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before,
and that, my love, is bravery.”
– Unknown
You may have heard unhelpful comments from those that cannot possibly imagine what you endure on a daily basis. Unless you personally struggle with pain, it can be very hard to comprehend just how difficult it can be to function. We are literally fighting inner demons, so the last thing we need is the opinions of those that really don’t have a clue. It’s really important to be kind to yourself and reflect on just how well you are doing. We can be our own worst enemy and focus on all the things we are failing to achieve but this is where we have to fight the mind monkeys.

To be kind to myself about my own health problems, I take myself out of the equation and picture how I would feel about someone else going through the same issues. Would I look down on someone that despite chronic pain, was doing their very best to run a business?

Would I focus on all the things they can no longer do, or marvel at their continued successes? I believe that I would view that person as a true warrior and yet I still struggle to apply that to myself. It certainly takes practice to separate our perception of ourselves, from reality but when we consider how we would view someone else in the exact same position, we realise that our own self perception is false.

So if you get up and keep fighting every day, then you my friend are a brave warrior!

Find Support

“Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them.
Your smile, your hope and your courage.”
– Doe Zantamata
The only good thing that comes from suffering chronic pain is being able to relate to others going through similar struggles. Sadly, many discover who their real friends are when they develop chronic illness and this can stop you from trying to connect with others. Loss of friendships can feed our feelings of low self-worth but what you have to remember is true friends should be there no matter what, especially the dark times.

So you need to avoid toxic and one-sided friendships and surround yourself with people that are empathetic and understanding. Being able to be honest about how you feel to someone is liberating, however, it has to be a two-way street. If we are friends with someone experiencing similar struggles we have to be there for them on their dark days as well. You have to build each other up and take turns venting, so you both have the support you need.

When it comes to chronic pain, you have to keep fighting but that doesn’t mean you set yourself up to lose the battle. There is no shame in accepting your limitations and reducing your hours or changing your business, to accommodate your health. You could even hire help to continue some of your services and create new income streams that you can do from home.

You need to be kind to yourself and acknowledge just how strong you are, regardless of whether you need naps in the day or days off to just rest. You just keep doing whatever you need to, to function as best as you can.

Chronic pain understandably affects mental health because it isolates us but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are so many other professionals struggling with the same pain and sometimes reaching out to them can be the very best way to provide support for them and find it for ourselves. When we have true friends that can relate to our struggles we feel braver and stronger, and that is crucial to our fight.

So, just keep going and every struggle you overcome will inspire others to keep going as well.

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