I Can Still Be Productive During a Sickle Cell Crisis

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by Tito Oye |

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I’m writing this column during a sickle cell disease crisis. I have not had one this bad in a while, so I’ve been feeling pretty low. I recently explained to a friend that I hate feeling like I am helpless and wasting time whenever I have a crisis.

I have an ever-growing list of things to do, but I have to put everything on pause during crises. I physically can’t keep up when my body needs to rest. Frustrated, I think about what I could potentially be doing and how productive I could be if I were not in pain, but that train of thought only further stresses me out.

While explaining this to my friend, I was reminded that there are many ways I can still be productive when resting. A day is never truly wasted. Although I am not able to physically do some things, not everything has to come to a halt.

My initial negative thoughts about wasted time have to do with my definition of productivity. I have often thought that the harder I work, the more productive I will be, but productivity isn’t only work or labor — building yourself up is also a form of productivity.

One way I practice this form of productivity in the middle of a crisis is by working on my mental state. It is a lot harder to concentrate at the moment, but it’s not impossible.

Today I have been listening to a range of podcasts: motivational ones to encourage me and improve my mood, and some in French to help me learn the language. I may not take in everything, but if I can learn just one thing, I am already in a better position than if I hadn’t done anything. The motivational podcasts have been the highlight of my day so far. 

I am also using this time to catch up with people whom I haven’t spoken to in a while. I realize more and more that many things are important to me, but because of my busy schedule, I neglect the things that matter most, like relationships. When life forces me to slow down, I suddenly have more time to tend to such things, and I benefit greatly. Social interactions are a blessing; so much wisdom can be gained from simply listening.

Rest itself is also productive. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Even with everything I can do semi-passively to try and use my time more efficiently, if I am in pain, I need to prioritize rest above all else. This ensures that I am back to my usual self as quickly as possible. Remember: Overexerting yourself today can be counterproductive for tomorrow.

How do you make difficult health days more productive? Please share in the comments below.


Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.


Orphelia St.Rose avatar

Orphelia St.Rose

I can totally relate! I am going through a Sickle cells disease crisis right now for the past couple of months. I haven't had a crisis in years! Just as I was beginning to get comfortable with my new lifestyle change of regular exercise and healthy eating, I am now sitting on the couch bundled up with pain!
To keep me productive and not go insane, I have been listening to a lot of motivational podcasts, I read more books than usual, I catch up with friends and family, I watch a lot of documentaries. I realize you can be as productive as you would like to be even when you are in pain and can't move around too much.
I am proud of you and wish you a speedy recovery!


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