“Working after a stroke” could mean many different things when it comes to stroke recovery, yet in this case I will be talking about employment. Every stroke survivor is affected by their stroke in varying intensities. In saying this, every stroke survivor will be able to work different amounts of time, doing different tasks varying in intensity/concentration.
To begin this blog we need to have some sort of starting ground, so I will use myself as an example, and a few different friends that have had strokes..
I started off my professional life as a teenager weeks before I had a stroke at the age of 17. I was working as a carpenter, and I loved it!! As things changed suddenly due to my stroke, so did my career.. Once I came home from hospital, I tried and tested different money making ideas over the years. Some worked, some didn’t. This is life right? This is life yes, but as a stroke survivor it is life in a much more delicate way. Especially when it comes to work. In my teen years I wanted to become an architect, so I thought I’d follow this direction, yet in the graphic design industry. I began to study a basic graphic design course which after a few months became too difficult for me energy wise and mobility wise (using one hand on the keyboard). Whilst I was studying I unexpectedly launched my own T-shirt label with the help of the graphic design techniques I learnt. This T-shirt label grew into a T-shirt and jeans label that I sold at a Market in Sydney city. My mother was a fashion designer, so I was fortunate enough to start selling my T-shirts in one of her shops that she sold to in the city. I soon began designing and making a small range of women’s dresses that I sold in this shop as well as a few other shops around Australia that my mother sold to. I also started selling these dresses at the Markets as well.. This was a good experience for me, but soon after reality started to hit and the sales of the dresses, T-shirts and jeans started to decrease.. Shortly after this I developed a scarf label where I realised I had to change the name of my label from Julz Australia to Julian Reddish to be more fitting for what the label had now evolved into. The scarves took off like wildfire.. Everything professionally in these experiences that I have had in the small clothing and accessories labels were great, dont’ get me wrong. As a stroke survivor, I had to learn how to pace myself. As I’m sure you probably now know energy isnt a strong area for stroke survivors.

I continued on at the Markets for awhile as the scarves kept on selling. I started gradually sell my scarves to more shops across Sydney as well as a few across the country. The Markets started to bore me and this is where my next interest began. I started selling my scarves to this ‘Book Shop Cafe’ across the road from where I was at the Markets. The woman in this shop began teaching me how to make coffee, which I had been curious about. At this stage my interest in making coffee grew and I began taking barista classes as well as volunteering in numerous cafes. After about a year of volunteering in cafes across Sydney I decided to try launching my own cafe from home. I was lucky enough to be able to launch it at a Market that was being held at my parents home. I continued to run my own bookings only cafe where I made three course lunches as well as offered to sell my scarves.

After running this cafe on and off for a few years I decided to study counselling and mentoring as I deeply wanted to give back and help people in need. For awhile I felt that selling scarves was making people happy as they got to wear gorgeous accessories all year round, but truth be told this was not enough for me! After studying a Diploma of Counselling as well as multiple mentoring courses, I decided to try opening Julian Reddish- Counselling & Mentoring for Stroke Survivors & Their Families.
There is no guarantee when it comes to succeeding when it comes to getting a job, or starting a business as a stroke survivor, let’s be honest. In saying this its well worth trying and seeing how you go, even if you don’t succeed. There’s not even a guarantee to get voluntary work either. One of the best cafes that I volunteered at I learnt the most, and it all started from simply asking them if I could help out. It was a busy cafe upstairs from a coffee roasting shop in a warehouse. Lots of customers came in to get a good coffee on their way to work. This was part of my coffee loving journey volunteering at this coffee shop. Not every voluntary position needs to end in a financial position. It is the experience that matters more sometimes a lot of the time. The first voluntary experience could help you gain access to the second or third voluntary experience, and then one day you may be offered a position wherever it is that you are volunteering. If you aren’t offered a position, don’t give up there, simply keep on trying!
If you do get accepted into a voluntary position this is a great level of success!
After approx 10 years I am still running the scarf label. I am selling to a select few really good art galleries and shops  across Australia and am have set up an Etsy store where I sell a range of my scarves. 10% of all profits are donated to the Stroke Foundation here in Australia. I also sell a range of the scarves on my mothers fashion website.

Lets be honest here… Allowing my scarf label time to grow has taken its time and yes, I have had my fair share of help with it. But like anything in life asking for help goes a long way.. It is an incredibly easy thing to do, ask for help that is, yet not all of us like asking for help, because it portrays the fact that we might have given up, and it takes courage doesn’t

It took me years to comfortably be ok with asking for help. In the beginning my mum simply helped me because she knew I needed help. The scarf label did sit still and did not progress at times, however I kept coming back to it. I never gave it the attention it deserved, until I needed to grow in size. This was when I moved out of home with my fiancé, suddenly I needed to earn more money. We moved to a new area, so this was my chance to find new shops to sell to. Now that I am putting in more effort into the scarf label I require a different level of help, but all in all I feel that I am in a good place now and will always be looking for that next good shop to stock at!

So when it comes to energy levels post stroke, it does get in the way when it comes to employment, yet there are ways around it. I have a feeling that that is possibly what still affects you while you are working? Or even in your every day life? If this is the case, I have been there, and I can help teach you how to maintain better energy levels. You can either get my Stroke Recovery Toolkit, Ten Step Guide or my book The Simplicity Of Life- Stroke Recovery Guidelines. All three of these products explain on different levels how to help maintain your energy post stroke. Otherwise if you wanted more information and someone to help guide you through the process of learning different tactics to maintain your energy levels, you can simply book in a session with me. A girl that I have connected with and become friends with in the US had a similar experience to me, having a stroke. It occurred differently for her, however she documented her entire recovery process and wrote a book about it. Her name is Maddie and she managed to get a job working for a company doing admin. She arranged an agreement with the boss which to help her manage her energy and now she is able to work there full time.  She has now written and published two books as well as travels the world a lot whilst documenting her travels for other stroke survivors.

As mentioned above, it is possible to get back to work, yet it may not be getting back to work in the exact same way as before your stroke.
Another friend of mine from the US has his own small organisation where he donates gift baskets to care givers, which has now grown to home delivered packages. This is not work for him, but more of a passion project for him. The caregivers that follow him and want to go into the draw each month love it.  It’s his way for him to say thanks to all of the caregivers out there as they are mostly ignored and aren’t appreciated or rewarded for all of their hard work that they do.

Many different companies have partnered with him and donate products to him which are added to the package that the winner gets. Running this small organisation gives him a lot of satisfaction. By doing what he does has attracted attention from others and he has now given a few speeches to numerous different disability events across the country.
It’s really unknown as to where voluntary work, being an employee or running your own business can take you. However by allowing the  process happen to you, it will put you ahead of most other stroke survivors out there and it will pull you along and help you recover in more ways than one.

One of my best team members helped me in more ways than one and thats what helped me achieve all of my goals and get me to where I am today and that is why I am doing what I do. Counselling and mentoring stroke survivors and their families overcome adversity and live with a well balanced mind. To make a booking simply click here.