By: Nina Torres

In March 2020, our lives changed drastically. As a result of the pandemic, I started to work from home, providing virtual learning. As an educator, I provide students college and academic support. My job consists of various meetings with partners, student advisement, parent meetings, educational planning, and college advisement. I began to conduct these meetings on Zoom and started calendaring everything on Google. Like many others, I began to experience Zoom fatigue. However, I also began to notice something else with my body.

I have interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as bladder pain syndrome. IC is a chronic bladder condition that affects both women and men and consists of recurring pain, urinary urgency, and frequency. I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis at 24 years old. At 29 years old, I am still learning about my body and my illness.

While working from home, I noticed I started to become glued to my computer, attending back-to-back meetings. In the beginning, I was fine, but as time progressed, I began to notice red flags. My body began to scream, telling me to stop and rest. I started to implement tools at home.

I created this list for myself and posted it on my desk. Whether you have IC or another condition that causes pain, these tips may be helpful for you.

  1. Listen to your body!
  2. Always remember to drink water. “Water is life!”
  3. Complete five minute stretches throughout the day. Tip: I created an at-home yoga station for myself.
  4. Keep a journal, also known as a pain diary, to track your symptoms.
  5. Schedule self-care Sundays and Wellness Wednesdays.
  6. Take a warm bath at the end of the day. Tip: I love turning on my diffuser and trying out different essential oils.  
  7. Rest! I notice when I have stressed, my pain is greater.

We must listen to our bodies! Our bodies are our temples. With that said, I have designed my home with the essentials that embody relaxation and comfort. It includes plants, candles, a calming color palette design, and inspirational reminders. My body is a temple, and my well-being is vital. I recommend reading the Interstitial Cystitis Association website for further at-home resources. In June, the U.S. Pain Foundation also conducted an “Ergonomics at home” webinar. The webinar provided useful tips on creating a healthy workspace.

These resources have helped me remember to listen to my body and remember wellness is essential. I hope they can help you, too.

Nina Torres is a proponent of community activism and human rights. She attended the University of San Francisco and received her Master of Arts degree in Human Rights Education. Nina has dedicated her life to advocating for social issues. She has lived with Interstitial Cystitis (IC) for over 15 years and became involved with the IC community through the Interstitial Cystitis Association. Nina is a Junior Ambassador for the U.S Pain Foundation and Ambassador for the Chronic Disease Coalition. This year, she participated in the U.S. Pain Foundation’s Virtual Advocacy series. She continues to participate in advocacy days and attend advocacy workshops.