We all have to work, right? And many of us who get jobs just out of college, like I did, are extremely lucky. But what happens when your shiny new job begins to take a toll on your mental well-being?
Number one is the commute. If you can’t get enough sleep, or spend half your day on a bus or train just to get to and from your job, that’s not going to be good for your mental health. I spend 4 hours a day on the train. It makes me feel like I’m living for the weekends because I have no time for myself during the week.
So what’s the solution to this? I’m in the process of asking to work from home one day a week because I can’t afford to move closer to my job right now. This would take a huge weight off my shoulders and sort of break up the week.
Next, there are the bad days. We all have bad days, but those of us living with a mental health condition can have it really rough sometimes. How are we supposed to have a productive day at work when we can barely get out of bed?
You could always call in sick, but what I like to do instead, is make sure I’m wearing something comfortable (and still work appropriate,) and order something I’m really craving for lunch. It’s the little things that really help get you through the day! As for the work day, I give myself a break. I’ll get my work done, but if something can wait till tomorrow, I’ll save it for then. This way, you’re still getting to work and getting everything done, but you also aren’t overworking yourself.
Lastly, how are your coworkers, and does it weigh on you having to keep your condition a secret? Not everyone keeps it a secret. I chose to, but accidentally told one person. As far as I know, no one else knows, and I’ll keep it that way. There’s so much stigma that I just don’t feel for me personally that it’s worth it to put that information out there. But hey, that’s just my choice. You know what’s right for you. I do feel like I’m keeping a huge secret sometimes. Like it’s something I need to be ashamed of, even though that’s not the case.
That’s why this blog is so therapeutic for me. I’m able to give advice and share my stories without the judgement and stigma that you get in your professional life.
So here’s the big question, can you be a mental health advocate and still have a professional life that’s separate? Of COURSE! That’s what I’m doing! And anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t have to follow me. That’s really how I feel. I want to create a community of all different kinds of people with all different kinds of jobs that can lift each other up throughout the ups and downs. And you can do that too. Your job isn’t always going to be your greatest passion. That’s why I love having this hobby on the side. It’s totally manageable and I can write from anywhere.
So stop living for your 9-5. If you have a mental health condition, do what you love for work, or do your job and find something you love on the side. Keep that spark ignited, because I know you can make a difference by following your passions.
Your job may take a toll on your health, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself on your time off! Be kind and patient with yourself, and just do the best you can.