Keeping up with school work while being unwell can be hard! Here are my top tips for balancing all my school work, my many hospital visits and being chronically ill all at the same time!

  1. Doing my A-Levels alongside a busy hospital schedule takes a lot of good organisation. I like to use my calendar on my phone to make sure I don’t forget any appointments, deadlines and exam dates! I also use the sticky notes on my laptop to keep a list of all the work I need to do that week for each of my subjects!
  2. I often find myself waiting around in hospitals for long stretches of time – either because a doctor is delayed or because I am sitting around in A&E. If I feel I can, I will use this as an opportunity to take out my laptop and catch up on some school work.
  3. On days or weeks when I am feeling more unwell than usual I like to do easy or small tasks only. This makes me feel like I have been productive and that I am still progressing with my goals despite being unwell. At the same time, this approach prevents me from over-doing it as I really want to avoid my symptoms getting even worse!
  4. Because I miss a lot of school, my workload often builds up and I can find this a bit overwhelming. I find that splitting my bigger tasks into manageable mini-tasks helps me not get scared and give up. Splitting up tasks also allows me to take breaks. This helps me regain my energy and feel ready to tackle the next task!
  5. Communicate with teachers!! If I am feeling ill or have had a lot of hospital visits and don’t feel like I can keep up with my work I have learnt that it is best to talk to my teachers about this. Teachers are human, they understand. They help me out by either giving me extensions or advising me on what work I should focus on and which bits I could just skim over. Through this, I am able to better manage my workload and only do what is absolutely necessary. This also helps my teachers understand what I am going through so they do not get annoyed at my slow work pace!
  6. Sometimes you have to admit that you just cannot work today and that is fine too! Sometimes I have to just tell a teacher that I cannot do their work right now because I am feeling quite weak. This is not a failure, I am being strong by admitting that I need a break! My teachers are usually very understanding when I tell them that I need a time out to let my body rest! They get that this is helpful in the long run as one day of rest is less disruptive than me being ill for a week while I recover from pushing myself too far!
  7. When unexpected things crop up in my hospital life, I find it hard to just head straight back to school. It is difficult to switch my head back into school mode as the hospital will still be on my mind. Because of this, I sometimes choose to take the rest of the day off to think about everything and emotionally recharge. Not every moment needs to be productive, sometimes we just need a moment to ourselves!
  8. Everyone has different ways of managing their workload. I hope this gives you guys an idea of how I manage my busy life while not always feeling up to it. Be kind to your body! See you at my next post!