Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder at Work
Other Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder at Work
If you have bipolar disorder, there are things you can do to make it
easier to succeed at work. For starters, know your symptoms of depression and
mania. That way, you can better manage them. See challenges as learning
experiences and look for opportunities to learn. Give yourself lots of credit
for big and small accomplishments, especially when you persevere through the
Here are a few other tips that may help you with managing bipolar disorder
Manage stress. Remember to try the following tips at home as well.
It’s important to get plenty of down time.
- Take regular breaks -- before you think you really need them. This
is particularly important if your stress levels rise.
- Try a relaxation exercise, such as deep breathing.
- Take a walk around the block.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Call a friend.
- Take time off for counseling.
Make other healthy lifestyle changes. Besides managing your stress
well, it’s important to exercise daily, get enough sleep, and eat nutritious
meals. If stress is affecting your sleep, it’s definitely time to take steps to
get it under control. Think about stress management techniques that have
worked well for you in the past.
Take your medications as prescribed. It may be tempting to go without
treating your mania. After all, this is when many people feel most productive.
But that can be risky thinking. During mania, you’re more likely to make
mistakes and can become irritable, making working relationships
If you tend to forget your medications, it may help to set a timer or
reminder on your computer. Keeping your medication in a plastic container or
vitamin bottle can help you guard your privacy.
Keep side effects at bay. Does your medication make you sleepy or
jittery at work? It’s not uncommon for people with bipolar disorder to need
extra sleep -- 8 to 10 or even up to 12 -- hours a day. Your doctor may be able
to change your dosing time or amount to help reduce drowsiness or other side
effects at work. Ask about other ways to cope with side effects. For example,
taking medication with food can lessen nausea.
Don’t ignore symptoms. Even when you’re doing everything right, you
may still have an episode of depression or mania. Act quickly if you feel an
episode of depression or mania coming on. Take extra steps to control your
stress. Your health care provider can also help guide you to even out your
moods. After an episode of depression or mania, be sure to take the time you
need to recover. If you’ve taken time off from work, pace yourself as you
return. This is a time when working part-time may be the best option.