Work and managing stress

Since I returned to work about 3 weeks after my stroke (a bleeds to be exact) I have informed all my customers that I am taking it easy to reduce stress and thus working part time.

i work for myself as a graphic designer.

I might as well have walked to the canal and told one of the local ducks as generally (with a couple of exceptions) people really don't care or listen to what you have to say. 

I still get calls at silly hours and most customers make no attempt at all to help by still giving me impossible deadlines, nattering me and pulling pressure on me.

its got to the point where I'm going to have to switch my phone off and just listen to voice mail messages in the afternoon and ring back those who have a genuine reason to chat with me.

this is really just a post to vent my frustrations but if you are in a similar position any advise will be appreciated.

ive got to think of myself and it feels like my job is not compatible with being able to gently settle back into.


Gray, Just a few things. Firstly, people do not like the word 'stroke'. They fear it, but don't understand it. They either treat you as if nothing happened or tell you how well you look. Some will even avoid you. Others just expect you to resume normal duties at once.I found all these reactions very frustrating and a bit disheartening. I think switching the phone off is a very good idea. Then you can hear their messages and respond according to priority.

Please remember, a recovery takes time. Make sure you take your work at a steady pace and don't overdo things.

Dear Gray

yes indeed. 99% of the public have not got a clue. Only another stroke survivor understands.

Anything you can do to stop pressure is good. Your customers will not hold back.

in addition to the valid points already raised , i have observed that human nature switches off after six weeks. Sympathy then disappears.

the best solution is that all SS move to the isle of wight and we then can understand each other. 


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Thanks John, yes I'm very conscious that I need to take it easy and I think I am, it's easy to slip back into old ways and get bogged down but I'm determined that I'm going to do t hi s at my own pace and adapt as I go!

Hi Colin, I like that idea Isle of Wight sounds lovely, I'm wanting to move closer to the coast!

You'll be close to the sea if we all go there. 
some of our northern friends reckon the Isle of Man would be better.

i understand there are a million of us. Whether that includes the TIAs i dont know. 


Hi Gray, Please do take care of yourself. I had to be bullied into slowing down and giving in to recovery by my friends and OHT. When I finally stopped fighting the fatigue and allowed myself extra sleep and rest I finally started to get better. I know it's so much harder having your own business. I was a teacher so got 6 months paid leave, then took voluntary redundancy which gave me a little longer. I started a little job, one day a week in my kids school, 9 months after my stroke and still needed to hide in a darkened room at lunch time. It does get better though. It may not seem it but keep a diary and you'll see progress. 2 years on and I'm juggling 2 kids and supply work (often full time weeks) and whilst  exhausted on a Saturday and fit for nothing I can manage. 2 years ago I never believed that would be the case again. The biggest warning I was given by a go friend was to take it slow early on though. If you don't take the rest in the early days while your brain is trying to heal - first 6 months most important - it can have longer lasting effects. Stop when all those little trigger signs come (you know the one's, tingly fingers or a tickle at the end of your nose - that was mine for a long while!). Switch your phone off, take 30 minute undisturbed naps (I was told that's all that was needed if I could grab them with a 3 year old around my ankles at the time) and be kind to yourself. Good luck x

Thanks Janey, I've always been the sort who can't sit still and always needing to be in the go so I find chilling out hard.
my routine is to work in the morning which includes about a 30 min break for breakfast and watch homes under the hammer! And then I work until about 2. I've been naughty a couple of times and worked until 4 but generally I've stuck to it.

thing is, I find my actual work quite therapeutic when I'm creating artwork, it's the email sending and phone calls and communicating that grinds me down. I'm trying to get the balance right. I think I'm going to switch off the phone at 12 so I can have 2 hours of peace while I enjoy being creative.


I guess I'm lucky my job has this creative element which I genuinely love.

Hi Colin, ? hhmmm, maybe you're going to need more than one island for this exclusive community?  If the IoW and IoM were both designated SS islands, it opens up the possibility for holiday-swaps?  

The new puppy is beginning to take its toll on my husband - he's extremely tired, (husband, not the puppy!), getting up at 5.30am to "sort out" any accidents!!  Puppy-walking isn't straightforward or relaxing, it's pretty challenging, they don't seem to  have read the manual instructing them on how to behave ? !!  So, I'm keeping a close eye on him, and trying to make sure he doesn't reach the point where he tumbles over the cliff.  He took a bit of a dip yesterday, but we're putting that down to having his second vaccination on Friday.  

Norfolk is celebrating Spring in style, evrywhere seems to be yellow!!  Primroses, forsythia and daffs in every direction ?.  Pretty chilly though.  

Hubby is looking forward to the re-opening of our village pub, but I think the temperatures are not inviting for sitting outside, I'm going to wrap him in a big blanket so he can enjoy his coke and crisps in the beer-garden!!

Have a good day ? ?

Dear Nicabella

i think the islands would sink.

holiday swaps sound good, wasnt there a film about a holiday swap ?

You  choose a puppy, wheras kittens choose you.Sooty adopted us and we love him to bits. It is fun watching which one of us is chosen for a cuddle. This morning he, for a first time, came to me and, after tewnty minutes, went to Rose. A proper Sunday morning, tea in bed with our cat snuggling up. And the sky is wall to wall blue. Now he has taken himself out for a patrol.
gosh its chilly for mid April. Yesterday I gave up gardenning after an hour, it was getting colder and colder, it is too dry to weed. Can we have some rain please.

pleased puppy agreed to his vac. No blood clots.



Hi Nicabella, on the puppy front we got our boy in August then I had a stroke in January, I was in hospital for a week so was not too long and my wife took over puppy duties. They are a lot of work and drive you crazy at times. Three months on from the stroke I still get tired but I think if I didn't have him I would give in and stay in bed half the day. He has really helped my recovery because my wife works so I have to get up and walk him which really helps me. We are up to 2 miles beach walk most mornings and about a mile field walk in the evening. Good luck with everything.


Hi Gray,

Please be careful. You are still in the early stages of recovery. It may be that you cannot work the way that you did before. It may take take time to re-learn and achieve what you did before. Are you able to sub contract any work or maybe take on a trainee?

I wish you all the best with your return to health and return to work. It may take a while. I enjoy most of my work, but I impose limits on what I do.



Thanks Graham, I've actually learned to just take it steady as I was starting to do too much and then feeling zonked!

so my ethos is to do bits and take good breaks. I'm no longer a sprinter but a marathon runner now!