How To Get Through The Work Day, Even If You Still Have Hypothyroid Symptoms

I have something to share. It’s tough for me to admit because I used to feel a lot of shame around this.

I’ve struggled with being able to work, because of my health issues.

I used to call myself lazy, spoiled, ungrateful for the opportunities in front of me. I used to put money a higher priority than my health. I hated myself every day that I had to call it quits “early” (which meant before my huge To Do list was done. This was never a healthy habit.)

I mentally beat myself up every single day for being “weak” and “giving up”.

All of that negative self talk was destroying my energy even more rapidly, and every moment I verbally abused myself was a moment I wasn’t focused on healing.

Eventually I realized that my health issues were the root cause, and not a “lack of will power”. Having the right mindset is essential to maximizing your energy and focus at work.

On the flip side of the same coin is allowing yourself to rest when you need to.

This post is inspired by a hypothyroid friend who sent in a great question. She wrote in to ask@kristinjekielek.com, because if you’re struggling with it, the chances are good that someone else is, too. That’s why I’ll share answers to your questions in a blog post like this.

Check out the Q&A. Down below I share the exact strategies to get you through every work week, without compromising your health.

 

Q: I am so glad that I found your Instagram account and look forward to your newsletter emails. I’m a thirty one year old elementary school teacher. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism about a month ago. The doc started me on levothyroxine and I am going to get more blood drawn next week to see if the dose needs to be adjusted. She said my thyroid levels are very low, and am also vitamin D deficient. Also have low level depression and ADD. I’m struggling with anxiety about going back to school which means full days- sometimes 12 hours of work/ prep/ planning/ grading emails.
Do you have any words of advice?  ~R.

It sounds like you’re worried about having enough energy and focus to get through your long work days, without making your health issues worse. What I don’t hear is that you’re afraid you can’t get through it, which would be an entirely different article for another time.

So for today, I’m going to give you strategies to get through every work day this year, even if you still have hypothyroid symptoms.

Strategy #1: Accept the Situation

Right now, I’m guessing your thoughts go something like “Oh my oh my ohmy ohmyohmyohmy, there’s no way I can get through this, those long days are going to kill me, I’m so exhausted already, I’m going to let my students down, I’m going to fail at life, everyone will hate me, my pet gerbil will leave me, and no one will come to my funeral, oh my.”

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie

That is one truth-packed sentence right there. Take a moment to let it sink in.

Having hypothyroidism causes fatigue, and that is not what is being referred to here. Rather, as I’ve learned from my own mistakes, anxiety is only draining your energy and would only make this tough situation harder for you by causing more fatigue. Having the right mindset is essential for maximizing your productivity.

Step 1: take a deep breath. and another. and another. and another. until the intensity subsides.

Step 2: Write it out. Write down all the words and pictures and doodles that your heart wants to express. Don’t edit, don’t even think, just feel & write. Be completely open and honest about your fears. Write until there’s nothing left. (I find using really big paper helps this process.)

Step 3: Now that your feelings are out on paper, your mind should be at least a little more calm. Hopefully a lot more calm. This is your chance to fill it with better thoughts!

Step 4: Empower yourself. Starting writing and saying to yourself: “I am afraid, but I am going to do everything within my power to prepare for this situation. I will plan out and do things that will help me do my best at work, even with hypothyroid symptoms. I will honor my body by taking care of my health, and I will honor my desire to do good work by creating a lifestyle that allows me to do my best.”

Step 5: Repeat & repeat & repeat & repeat. Repeat daily, weekly, monthly, until it’s ingrained in the fabric of your being.

Strategy #2: Prioritize

What’s really essential to living a happy, healthy life right now? Taking into account your hypothyroidism symptoms, what are the 3 things you need to feel vibrant?

As an example, I’ll share mine.

  • Experiencing improvements in my health
  • Financially stability
  • Loving relationships

Now, I would be thrilled to have monthly beach vacations, handsome pool boys, and $1,000,000….but I don’t need them to feel alive. In fact, I know that if I had these things but not all the things on my list, I’d be miserable.

Your priorities, whatever they are, will drive every.single.decision you make from now on. Every time you’re asking “What should I do?”, ask yourself if it helps or hinders your top priorities.

Strategy #3: Say No

I doesn’t feel fair to work so hard and have to say no to things we enjoy. It’s not easy to say no, and often times we don’t want to. However, it’s the only way to truly live by your priorities. See above.

If health and work are absolute musts, then everything else in life is balanced around those. If going out late will make it harder to get through work the next day, then you don’t go out. If setting daily alarms so you make sure to take your levothyroxine at the same time every day will help your health, then you do that.

It’s a simple rule that can be tough to follow. Use your priorities as your compass, and each decision will become more clear.

Strategy #4: Routine is Key

You need a plan to get yourself through each day, each week, and each month. This is something predictable and set in stone. It will reduce the number of decisions you have to make each day, which leaves more mental energy for work. After a few weeks, your body will adjust to the routine and even come to expect it.

Plan out the crucial factors of your personal life:

  • Sleeping hours
  • Downtime/self care time/relaxation time
  • Nutrition

Sleeping Hours

These should be the same every day, all week long, even on the weekends. A regular, consistent sleep schedule teaches your body when it’s time to sleep & when it’s time to be awake, reducing the daily fuzz.

Downtime/Self Care/Relaxation

If you have to work a 12 hour day, then make sure you plan a little Me Time to start and end the day. Maybe you meditate for 15 minutes, or take a short walk, or really savor your meal. Whatever grounds you and brings your mind into the present moment is great.

Nutrition

Plan your meals in advance. What are you eating each day? When are you cooking each meal? Now might be a great time to invest in a crockpot, which allows you to cook several meals at once while you’re at work. Eating real food not only helps fuel your work day, but it also nourishes your thyroid.

Creating a routine and sticking to it will minimize the distractions in your life, allowing you to focus on work when you need to.


Now, I know that seems like a LOT of things to do, which might be scaring you a little bit. (ohmyohmyohmyohmy) Take a deep breath, or several, and hear me out.

Take this one step at a time. Start with one piece and get comfortable with it before moving on to the next. Feeling stressed about this won’t help! As with any lifestyle change, it takes time and persistence to make this a habit. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Always remember that you have a choice in everything you do. Everything here is my recommendation on how to maximize your energy and focus for work when you still have hypothyroid symptoms. If you find a better way, then go for it. I’d love to hear about what works for you.

Remember, with the right support, you can thrive with hypothyroidism.

 

In love and in health,

Kristin

 

So that wraps up the first “Ask Kristin” post. What do you struggle with while living with hypothyroidism? Email me at ask@kristinjekielek.com for my experience on how to thrive with hypothyroidism, and I’ll answer your question in a blog post.

What our hypothyroid friends are saying: