Struggling with Work-Life Balance after Surgery? Read This

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).

Let’s talk about something that’s probably been on your mind at one time or another after bariatric surgery: work-life balance. We all know that finding that sweet spot between crushing it at work and still having a life outside of it can be a real challenge, especially after undergoing a big change like bariatric surgery. So whether you’re returning to work after bariatric surgery or just feeling like your time isn’t being managed well enough to devote to you and your post-op care, we’re here to guide you!

In this article, we discuss tips for returning to work after bariatric surgery, post-bariatric lifestyle changes, and remote work strategies for bariatric patients.

1) Post bariatric lifestyle changes.

As you’ve probably heard, there are changes related to self-care that will be required to be successful with your surgery. You must put your nutrition first, exercise consistently, manage stress, and in general, support your new tool! To help you with these changes and transitions, you must take control of your day. It’s funny how fast a day goes by — then you realize you’ve left yourself out of the mix! Check out these no-fail strategies to support your work-life balance.

2) Prioritize like a champ.

Take a step back and figure out what’s really important to you. Sure, work is a big deal, but so is your health and happiness. Begin to objectify your daily tasks and weekly tasks by writing them down. Which would you consider priorities and which can be eliminated, put off until some other day, or delegated to someone else? What are you considering as priorities when it comes to you and your post-bariatric self-care routine? Set your priorities, and don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t align with them.

3) Use that planner!

Your ability to practice time management will determine how crazy your life is — or isn’t. Do things feel like a mess? If so, they probably are. Utilize that planner and start blocking out chunks of time for work obligations, personal obligations, and everything in between. Don’t forget to get into the details like meal planning, exercise, and managing your stress by allowing “self-care” time. Trust me, it’ll make a world of difference. You’ll soon be able to take that list and work on prioritization. Honestly, there are just too many things a bariatric patient needs to prioritize to have optimal outcomes with surgery and overall health. And making sure you allow time for those things is vital.

4) Learn to delegate.

You’re only human, not a superhero, so don’t think you can take it all on by yourself. It’s okay to ask for help when needed, and others are likely willing to help when asked. Whether that means delegating tasks at work or enlisting the support of friends and family at home, what can you begin delegating to free up more time for your needs? Start practicing today!

5) Remote work strategies for bariatric patients.

Remote work can often be challenging, even though it seems you’d have more freedom to prioritize your needs. But sometimes, when we don’t have a boss watching over our shoulders, it’s hard to manage our own time. It’s easy to start your workday when you want to, eat when you feel like it (or when you remember), and totally skip over exercise for the day.

  • Create an accommodating workspace — Allow room for your nutrition requirements, space for your water, easy-to-reach, go-to snacks that are balanced and healthy, and consider a stand-up desk to promote time for smaller standing workouts or stretches during short breaks.
  • Establish boundaries — Set clear boundaries between work and personal life, especially when working remotely. Define specific work hours and resist the temptation to overwork. Create a designated workspace (ideally away from the area where you’d eat main meals) to mentally separate work from personal time. It’s all about being mindful of your new habits and eating patterns.

6) Keep things in perspective.

Remember, nobody’s perfect. Look where you were, and look where you are now. You’ve come a long way, and the work you put in is all worth it. There will be days when things don’t go according to plan, and that’s okay. Cut yourself some slack, learn from your mistakes, and keep on truckin’. Remember your “why,” and keep your eyes on the prize.

Finding a work-life balance after bariatric surgery is all about trial and error. It might take some time to figure out what works best for you, and that’s completely normal. Just keep tweaking things until you find your groove, and don’t forget to give yourself a high five now and then for all the hard work you’re putting in. You’ve got this!

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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