Even if you are advised by your doctor and occupational therapist to return to work, doing so can be daunting. You may physically find yourself able to return to work physically, but preparing for this transition can come with frequent episodes of anxiety, stress and panic episodes.
Your legs might feel shaky, your palms might be sweaty, the colors, sounds, smells might all be new despite it being the same old place. Don’t worry. Planning your first day at work after stroke will pass easily and the unfamiliar will soon be familiar again. Here is a stress-free guide to returning to work after stroke.
1. Be assured
Prepare yourself mentally. It is best to look at returning to work from a newer perspective. There is a blank slate, and you can write what you like on it! Too much stress can make it harder to concentrate and do a good job. Keep reminding yourself this will just slow down the re-learning process after stroke. Tell yourself that you will be able to do what they expect you to do. They will like you. It is best to talk to your doctor or physical therapist for reassurance if all of this doesn’t work out.
2. Plan the first day at work after stroke
Don’t ‘what if’ yourself! You can ‘what if’ anything and start to drive yourself nuts with it. Purposefully make yourself imagine the best possible things happening. Read your favorite motivational book a day before to see you through this ‘perceived’ tough time! If you don’t know which book should make you feel better, we have got 6 books that can motivate you after stroke. Wearing your most flattering outfit should make you feel better. Also, carrying a stress ball to work might ease off the pressure.
To find your center and to mentally detach yourself from the pressures ahead, remember to get enough sleep too. Yoga is the best stress buster! Energize yourself with a quick breathing yoga session. You can do so as soon as you reach your workstation.
3. Get your table organized and decluttered
Some office stationery can help you prepare your schedules and remember the important dates (especially when a stroke left you with mild Dementia). Report covers and document binders can label everything to help you find a particular file without any hassle. You would also want your office table to look organized to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Paper folders and cardholders do this job perfectly. While paperweights and paper clips can be used to keep everything in place, paper cutters and sticky notes will help you work efficiently.
4. Be ready for a discussion
Consider having a conversation with your favorite colleague about your stroke. In fact, candid dialogue with your subordinates can help dispel fears and anxiety you may have about someone noticing a change (physical or cognitive) in you after stroke. In fact, your courage to initiate honest dialogue can help dismiss common misconceptions about stroke and can potentially help them prevent it.
5. Take required rest
Fatigue is very common after stroke. To ensure that you don’t overtire and consequently put yourself through anxiety episodes, find some time for rest breaks. If you are employed in retail industry, make arrangements to sit for 5 minutes once of every 30 minutes, to relax painful muscles. On the contrary, stand up for 5 minutes of every 30 minutes to stretch and move around if you are supposed to sit all day long. Changing positions repeatedly will also help prevent muscle strain and pain. Take a short nap (if your job allows that) during the lunch break to recharge.
This Blog is contributed by Dr. Deepak Kr. Nain. He is a certified therapist who specializes in the field of rehabilitation. Deepak possesses a clinical expertise in prescribing the best solutions to help people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).