Work keeps me well

Ellie reflects on work and how it impacts on bipolar disorder and how integral it is to managing the condition and keeping well. She also outlines her tips for keeping a healthy work life balance.

Work is something not everyone has in my view the luxury of being able to do. For me personally it is paramount for keeping me well for the most part, as it gives me structure and routine to the day. What I love about working is it keeps my overactive brain mainly in the present moment. I find that when I have down time, I tend to spend too much time ruminating on past mistakes and failures and all the should of, could of and would of thoughts.

 I do not think I am alone in this way of thinking, though I guess some people are better at managing their thoughts and feelings. I am lucky in the sense that I’ve had a job since I was 17; once I got the taste of monetary freedom I was off. 

The variety of jobs I have had has meant I have gained a wealth of knowledge about the different areas of work and what it entails to put your all in getting a job done and doing it to the best of your ability; not to mention the vast amount of skills I have picked up along the way. People talk of retirement but I do not think I ever want to retire (I say this now though…) as the thrill I get from interacting with people and making a difference is like a drug to me.

Working in peer support

I believe I’ve found my calling and that is to be able to  help people, whether that’s being an ear to listen, offering advice and support on mental health in particular those who suffer with bipolar and depression and helping people stay fit and healthy. I find my bipolar gives me a lot, I tend to see my condition as a glass half full,  the liquid in the glass is that of my favourite fizzy. The bubbles in the fizzy drink represent the energy that I bring to most things I do; the mass of bubbles represent all the possibilities and potential I have in life. I find I have so many dreams and aspirations that I want to get them all done at once or at least by the time I die.

My tips a good work life balance

  1. Find a job that you love and are passionate about as doing something you hate or don’t enjoy just destroys the soul and doesn’t make you productive or make you want to be the best at what you do.
  2. Figure out for yourself what is the right work life balance ratio is. This can vary depending on each persons’ preference.
  3. Money should not always be the deciding factor; think of the other things that you get out of the work that you do and that can help lessen the blow of not getting a large salary.
  4. Determine your value so you find a job that matches up with what you can contribute. Do not be afraid to try different jobs and roles out so that you get a greater understanding at what you enjoy, what you are good at and what does not work for you.
  5. Aim to take on new challenges every so often to keep you fired up and working at your best.
  6. Putting in the hard work always pays off so do not shy away from rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in at whatever task you are dealt with.
  7. Work at aiming to solve problems quicker than the next person so you can get ahead.
  8. Some wise words from my uncle being that when you get a pay rise, spend the money as if you were still earning your original salary that way you have more money to save and play with.
  9. Do not be afraid to ask for a salary increase that reflects the inputs and out puts you are achieving.
  10. Seize the moment and take calculated risks as the world is full of opportunity; you never know what is just around the corner so be prepared as much as you can for what is coming.