Endo and Work: Sometimes You Have To Sit Under Your Desk
I work from home now, but I haven’t always had the freedom to take breaks and write wherever I wanted. I used to sit at a desk inside an office building. When I got really tired or had bad cramps, the only place to get some privacy was a shared bathroom with three confining stalls. Only one light worked and there was always a question of whether there was pee on the seat in the dark stall. (Answer: There was always pee on that seat.)
I never cared for the lack of privacy in an open office plan. Sometimes I get migraines and I need to shut my eyes for a minute... or 20. My cramps last for weeks, and occasionally I’ll spend days wincing in menstrual pain, something I don’t feel like explaining to the person sitting 3-feet from my face.
When I had a larger workspace, I brought in a small couch that I would work from. But when I had to move a few spaces down, the sofa was relegated to the common area.
I needed my own escape. I’d seen that episode of Seinfeld where George slept under his desk, so I created a comfy space under mine. If you have a big enough area where you can sit, here’s what you need to make your own office getaway.
If I’m going to take a moment to myself, I don’t want everyone staring at me. So I created some privacy by taping up an an oversized pillowcase I bought from Target. I used the double sided sticky tape made for hanging pictures to secure it.
My office was always cold, so I bought a fleece blanket from the Walgreen’s across the street that I kept at my desk. I also had an office jacket (that I am currently wearing). All the ladies in my office bought Bobeau cardigans, which are best described as a hug with sleeves.
Office floors are gross, so you’ll need a pillow to sit on as well as a pillow for your back. I went to the college section at Target and got one of those soft pillows with arms that I’m assuming is designed for floor use.
If you’re spending time under your desk meditating or curling in the fetal position for a few minutes, you won’t need extra light. But I worked with my laptop and often spent a few hours working out of sight. I used the small lamp I kept on my desk to illuminate the space.
Don’t worry what other people think (unless it’s your boss)
If you think you’ll get reprimanded by your boss for crawling under your desk, then it’s probably not a good idea. But most of the time no one even knew I where I was, so explanations weren’t necessary. I’ve also been open with my coworkers about my endo (and about being an introvert), so no one was surprised when I created my safe space. A couple coworkers even used the area to take naps themselves.
I don’t recommend shirking your work responsibilities, but I support taking breaks. If you need some quiet time to recharge, set aside a place wherever you can. Your coworkers will probably join you.
Do you live with any other health conditions outside of endometriosis?