People who struggle with mental health often have the most difficult time finding and maintaining a job.
When it comes to bipolar disorder, manic and depressive episodes can often lead to various problems in a professional arena. These tend to comprise in high levels of stress and are caused by a number of factors.
But finding and maintaining a job doesn’t have to be so difficult if you can find work that lets you manage your own time and take moments to care for your mental health.
Throughout this blog, we’re going to offer our opinions on the best jobs for someone with bipolar disorder. You’ll also find some tips that’ll help you maintain and prosper within your career path. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
Unhealthy Work Conditions
When it comes to the conditions of your workplace, there are a number of different factors that can have a negative impact. These include: ¹
- Fast-paced environment
- Inconsistent hours
- Inconsistent paychecks
- Short-notice hours
- Too much traveling
- Tough management or boss
Each factor can play a significant role in why people struggling with bipolar disorder may feel stressed over a job.
For example, irregular payment can often lead to uncertainty about making rent. Especially on a paycheck to paycheck budget. Or, short-notice hours may cause a person to disrupt their sleep schedule.
Before we begin considering what might be the best job for you, it’s important to consider these factors. What is it that you want to avoid about your current work-life? How do you want to build yourself and what kind of work environment can make that happen?
By answering questions as such, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to understand the kind of work that’ll allow your mental health to find balance.
Worst Jobs for Bipolar Disorder
Admittedly, entry-level jobs (food service, retail, etc.) are often the unhealthiest places for bipolar disorder. They can be fast-paced environments with irregular hours and difficult management.
You may struggle to keep up with the stress in the same way others do. Or you may find yourself going to through an intense episode in the middle of a shift.
Entry-level positions often aren’t easy and people with bipolar disorder are vulnerable to their struggles. Still, there are also a number of professional jobs that can be just as difficult.
The purpose of this list is to help you find yourself the right career path.
If you’re young and struggling with bipolar disorder, take some time to consider what kind of career-path may have a negative impact on you. If you’re older and already locked into an unhealthy career, consider a new direction you may want to take and start working towards it.
The following are the worst jobs for people with bipolar disorder:
Any job with a nighttime shift is bound to cause difficulty in your sleep pattern. However, combining this shift while always being in an atmosphere of alcohol is bound to be even more stressful.
Always being around people who’ve been drinking too much may cause undesired pressures. And constantly being within the proximity of alcohol will make you vulnerable to various temptations.
Some people with bipolar disorder may actually shine true in customer service. However, if you also struggle with social anxiety, you’ll likely find customer service to be a nightmare.
People with mental health are often vulnerable to receiving the emotions of those around them. ² If you’re always around upset customers, there’s a good chance this can have an effect on you.
Even if the sight of blood doesn’t make you squeamish, nursing comes with a number of difficulties most people don’t consider. For example, you’ll be required to work long shifts often late into the night.
You also have to consider what it’s like to be in an environment that focuses on the sick and chronically ill. How will an environment as such inhibit your mental health?
Social workers take on the commendable task of helping other people better their lives. But they do so at the cost of encountering situations of child/domestic abuse, drug abuse, and poverty.
Again, consider how such a position may effect your mental health.
Best Jobs for Bipolar Disorder
Ideally, if you’re struggling with bipolar disorder, you should seek out work that allows you to control your time. This offers you the ability to work when energy is granted and avoid situations which may be consequential to your mental health.
Jobs that are ideal for a person with bipolar disorder include:
A job in this field requires you to refer various services and products to potential customers. It’s usually done through the internet, giving you the ability to work when you choose.
Admittedly, an affiliate marketer is required to socialize a great deal. Even if it’s only through phone calls and video chats, it may take a toll on someone who’s also struggling with social anxiety.
Independent consulting can be great for people who have a special talent. Whether it be video editing or web design, consider what you’re best at and learn to capitalize on it.
There’s no denying that starting a business is an extremely difficult task. However, if you succeed, you’ll have a lot more flexibility in your schedule in comparison to those working under a business.
Remember, building a business will take a lot of time and dedication. This isn’t one of those career paths that just happens over night. With the right kind of patience, you will be able to succeed.
With the advent of the internet, a wave of writing opportunities appeared online. Giving thousands the chance to work from home, on their own schedule, and building a client-based business over time.
People with bipolar disorder can highly benefit from this kind of position. Especially if they have a particular area of interest they can spread new knowledge about.
Becoming a hair stylist allows you to get creative with you work. However, it’s important to understand how to go about a job as such.
Ultimately, hair stylists have two options: to work under a company or build a client-base that allows them to freelance. For people with bipolar disorder, the latter is more attractive. Still, working under someone else in a barbershop is bound to be less stressful than a food service or retail job.
Admittedly, making a full-time income by taking surveys isn’t a realistic option. However, if you’re looking to make get some extra revenue into your wallet, there’s no reason you can’t take surveys to make an extra few hundred a month.
Taking surveys is one of the easiest opportunities for people with bipolar disorder as it allows you to decide your own schedule and requires very minimal from you. This extra income may just be the stress relief you’ve been waiting for.
There are numerous studies that have shown human-animal interaction to have a positive effect on a person’s mental health. ³ With that said, though working as a veterinarian may be stressful, it can also have a number of satisfactory outcomes.
Still, if working within the medical field isn’t your style, there remains a number of opportunities to work with animals. These include dog-walking, pet-sitting, and training animals for pet therapy.
Tips for Coping with Bipolar Disorder at Work
Regardless of the career path you decide to take, the most important aspect of maintaining a job is to also maintain your mental health. For those struggling with bipolar disorder within a workplace, we recommend you:
- Build a Support Group – Find people within your job who understand mental health and how it plays a role in your life. Though it may be difficult for you to open up about your condition, having the right people there for you can be significant when coping with symptoms.
- Continue With Treatment – If you’re currently receiving treatment from a medical professional, stick to it. Your doctor will understand your mental health on a personal level and set you up on the right path.
- Eat Properly – Did you know your diet plays a major role in how your brain functions? This is due to something known as the brain-gut connection. ⁴ By avoiding unhealthy food, you’re avoiding potential chemical triggers that can be detrimental to mental health.
- Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule – Sleep is a vital factor in maintaining good mental health. Make sure you have a regular sleep schedule as this rhythm will help you avoid possible stress.
- Take It Easy – Remember, you’re bound to do your job better if you’re in the right mental state. Therefore, if you’re not feeling right, make sure to take the time to ease your mind. Whether it’s through a hobby or a vacation, make sure you find the time to focus on keeping your mental health together.
We all handle mental health differently. Therefore, you may have different ways of dealing with stressors.
It’s not so much what you do that will lead to a better work life as much as making sure you take the time to do it.
Our above list of the best jobs for people with bipolar disorder is nothing more than a list of recommendations. You may be more interested in a career path that wasn’t mentioned here and that’s okay.
The important thing when it comes to work and mental health is maintaining stability. If you can find opportunities that align with how you handle your mental illness, then you’re on your way to success.
We hope our list provided you with an idea of where you may want to take your career. And even if not, we hope at least we were able to provide you with some useful tips about handling a job with bipolar disorder.
Still have questions concerning bipolar disorder and work?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any advice to offer, whether personal or professional, we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ HHS Public Access: The impact of work environment on mood disorders and suicide: Evidence and implications
² NCBI Bookshelf: U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. 7. Physical and Social Environmental Factors
³ NIH (News in Health): The Power of Pets
⁴ Harvard Medical School: The gut-brain connection