Finding balance: Tips to manage life with endometriosis
Positive coping strategies may help ease endometriosis pain. One possible strategy? Learn to balance your day to include time for work and time for you.
How you go about your day can significantly affect your ability to manage endometriosis pain. If you overdo it to meet a deadline at work or you overcommit yourself so that you're running from one activity to the next, your body may reach a point where it can't keep up.
But avoiding all activity and spending hours lying around the house isn't good, either. You may focus only on your endometriosis pain, leaving you feeling unwilling or unable to enjoy physical or social activities.
So what's the answer? Aim for balance in your life — including time for work, time for friends and family, and time for you. Achieving balance isn't always easy, but it may just help you better manage endometriosis pain.
Learning to balance your day
Think of how you spend a typical weekday. Work probably consumes many hours of the day. Spending productive time at work is an important part of the balance, but equally important is to devote time in your day to exercise, leisure activities and relaxation.
During the week and on weekends, try not to spend too much time on any one activity, such as more than eight hours working. Instead, aim to include a variety of activities in your day to achieve a healthy balance.
Putting time on your side
An important part of balancing your day is using time efficiently. Taking charge of your time can have a significant impact on how you feel and how much energy you have.
Strategies to help you use your time more effectively include:
- Plan. Schedule your day so that you have time for the things you need to do and those you want to do. Use a daily planner or a calendar app on your smartphone to help you stay on track.
- Recognize patterns. Notice when you waste time — such as staying in bed too long or excessively surfing the internet — and avoid these time wasters.
- Prioritize. If many activities compete for your time, decide which are the most important and let go of the rest.
- Delegate. On days when you have more to do than you can handle, seek help. Delegate all or part of a task and then let go of it both physically and mentally.
- Evaluate. Make sure you're being realistic about how much you can accomplish each day.
- Educate. Talk about your needs with those who rely on you the most. Let them know you may need to pace yourself to stay active and healthy.
Becoming more organized
Organization is important to a healthy lifestyle. When dealing with endometriosis pain and other symptoms, staying organized can help you conserve energy:
- Think before you act. Before beginning a task, gather all of the items you'll need or make a list. For example, keep all of your cleaning supplies in one bucket to avoid multiple trips up and down the stairs. Make a list before you run errands to avoid wasted time and additional stops.
- Keep commonly used items handy. Organize your work areas at home and at your job so that those items you frequently use are close at hand to save you from unnecessary bending or reaching.
- Reduce clutter. Searching for items takes both time and energy. Organize your work spaces, as well as drawers and closets, so that you can easily find what you need.
Moderation involves how much, how long or how fast you do things to avoid overdoing or underdoing activities during your day. By moderating activities, you can improve your ability to accomplish daily and weekly tasks without increasing pain levels or fatigue.
To practice moderation:
- Break up lengthy tasks
- Alternate activities
- Prioritize tasks
- Take frequent rest breaks
- Work at a moderate pace
- Change the frequency of tasks
Make changes gradually
Instead of drastically altering your daily routine to the point that it feels uncomfortable, take it one small step at a time. Each week, try to incorporate some small changes, starting with a few routine tasks. Over time, as you continue to make changes, you'll achieve a healthy balance.
Jan. 30, 2020
See more In-depth
- Donatti L, et al. Patients with endometriosis using positive coping strategies have less depression, stress and pelvic pain. Einstein. 2017;15:65.
- Bruce BK, et al., eds. Balance, moderation and changing habits. In: Mayo Clinic Guide to Pain Relief. 2nd ed. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.