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Blog>Guides>The Best Low-Stress Job Options for People with Bipolar Disorder

The Best Low-Stress Job Options for People with Bipolar Disorder

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Managing Bipolar Disorder at Work: Key Job Considerations

Most of us are familiar with the term bipolar disorder: a brain disorder that causes intense, fluctuating changes in a person’s mood, energy, focus, activity, and ability to function. These emotional states can be either chronic or episodic, meaning they can occur at irregular intervals. While the causes of bipolar disorder are complex, stress can be a precipitating factor in the emergence and resurgence of key symptoms. Although bipolar disorder symptoms can vary enormously, stress has been shown to induce both “manic” and “depressive” feelings and behaviors.

man-stressed-at-work

People diagnosed with bipolar disorder frequently say that their jobs have been adversely affected by their illness. Any kind of stressor related to the job — such as loud and incessant background noise or any kind of interpersonal conflict — can cause painful symptoms and upset the emotional balance that people with bipolar are consistently seeking to maintain. Other problematic work stressors can include isolated events like losing an important client, or consistent issues such as high-stakes monthly deadlines.

For many with bipolar disorder, career-related stress can become overwhelming due to constant or recurring challenges. In other instances, stressors are environmental. When well-being is compromised, people with bipolar disorder often emotionally withdraw from their jobs, lower their work rate, or even stop working permanently.

This is why finding and having the right job match is of the utmost importance for people living with bipolar disorder to live safely and productively. We’ve rounded up some of the most stress-free jobs for people battling bipolar — so that they can feel balanced, safe, and productive.

What Types of Jobs Work For People With Bipolar Disorder?

Because people with bipolar disorder have such a wide array of aptitudes, preferences, and potential triggers, we can’t provide hard and fast rules for everyone with the disorder. However, we can suggest some general characteristics of professional opportunities that will support your continued well-being. Consider these suggestions and evaluate whether they might make sense for you.

  • Consistent responsibilities: Many jobs are defined by peaks and lulls, meaning pressure can vary dramatically on a daily basis. People with bipolar disorder may want to avoid such positions, opting instead for jobs that entail a stable, well-defined set of duties.
  • Calm environments: Some workplaces are abuzz with energy, thriving on constructive chaos. Unfortunately, these environments can be taxing to inhabit, raising employee stress levels through sensory overload. You might seek a more quiet, tranquil environment instead.
  • Regular, daytime hours: Sleep disruptions can be hugely problematic for people with bipolar disorder. Symptoms can flare up after a single night of insufficient rest. By the same token, people with bipolar disorder often have diagnosed sleep disorders. To manage these interacting issues, it’s probably best to look for roles with regular, daytime working hours.
  • Potential for breaks: If you feel your stress levels mounting, you’ll need to employ effective coping skills, such as taking a walk, calling a friend, or doing some deep breathing. You might want to look for jobs where these occasional breaks are possible, rather than positions in which it’s impossible to pause.
  • Supportive colleagues: Nothing raises tension like co-workers in conflict, and infighting among colleagues makes everyone’s life difficult. To avoid this source of stress, try to find an employer with a strong and supportive company culture, rather than one defined by cutthroat competition.

10 Low Stress Jobs & Careers for Professionals with Bipolar Disorder

Thankfully, many professions meet all or most of the criteria listed above. Below, we explore 10 jobs and careers that exemplify great options for professionals with bipolar disorder.

Massage Therapist

In a profession devoted to healing and relaxation, you can expect to stay relatively healthy and stress-free. Massage therapists perform a valuable service to their clients, and their responsibilities are consistent and clear. Aside from possible scheduling challenges, you won’t need to worry about much besides creating the best possible experience for each client.

massage-therapist

Massage therapists work in many settings, employing their skills in spas, offices, or even their clients’ homes. They can work for themselves or as part of larger entities, seeing clients on a recurring basis or for single sessions. This flexibility is a big benefit. You can find a niche that supports your mental health needs.

Want to learn more about opportunities as a massage therapist?

Medical Records Technician

Health care can be a pressure-intensive industry, but maintaining medical records is a low-stress segment of the field. Keeping records accurate and up to date is an essential service, allowing physicians to treat patients successfully over time. You can aid in this effort without the stress of directly serving people who are ill.

Medical records technicians devise, implement, and maintain medical coding systems, streamlining record keeping via digital platforms. Their work is typically defined by repetitive processes and performed in a quiet office setting. Their role is quite useful for legal and insurance purposes, allowing medical professionals to focus on patient care.

Want to learn more about opportunities as a medical records technician?

Web Developer

Some coding positions entail significant stressors, such as looming deadlines or complex technical problems, but a lot of web developers are insulated from these pressures, performing practical website changes at a reasonable pace. If you find the right position, your career as a developer can be tranquil, consistent, and stable.

Web developer on the job

One element to consider is your penchant for perfectionism. Will you be comfortable doing the best you can to resolve technical challenges, or will you obsess over the most elegant solution possible? If your own drive for perfection could be a source of stress, you might prefer a career that involves less compromise and continual tinkering.

Want to learn more about opportunities as a web developer?

Grocery Stocker

It is a grocery stocker’s job to ensure that shelves, bins, displays, storage, and grocery store aisles are properly stocked so that customers can easily find the items they’re looking for. They often work in retail and warehouse environments receiving, unloading, and unpacking cartons, crates, and boxes of bulk or packaged goods. They also check labels and any pertinent information before moving goods where they need to go.

People with bipolar disorder often say that they find human interaction to be not only draining, but that it can trigger bipolar episodes. They particularly find small talk exhausting and worry about the requirement to be “on” all the time in customer-service-oriented jobs — this includes the requirement to constantly be exchanging pleasantries, even when they don’t feel like communicating with anyone.

grocery-stocker

Those who cope with bipolar disorder can rest assured that grocery stockers often have limited interaction with people; the only interaction would usually be with supervisors. Certain work hours can also help. While hours can be outside of regular work hours — on weekends and other days at night — this can actually work for those with bipolar disorder because the work setting would be particularly quiet and devoid of extra noise.

Want to learn more about opportunities as a grocery stocker?

EMT

Emergency Medical Technicians (also referred to as EMTs) respond to medical emergencies and deliver patient care, support, and evaluation in a pre-hospital setting, like on the scene of the medical emergency and during transportation to hospital. This includes assessing the patient, determining the proper emergency care, and administering treatment. EMTs also help with transporting patients safely between hospitals and care facilities.

While EMTs work in high-stress environments and need to perform well under pressure, some with bipolar disorder have said that because the nature of the job compels them to focus exclusivity on patients, and gets them “out of their head” — something they consider to be a good thing.

Want to learn more about opportunities as an EMT?

Copywriter or Freelancer

Copywriters — also known as marketing writers and freelancers — are responsible for producing engaging, clear text for different advertising mediums such as websites, print ads, and catalogs. Work includes researching keywords, coming up with interesting written content, and proofreading their work for accuracy, grammar, and quality.

As copywriters, people who have bipolar disorder can benefit from a flexible and adaptable work schedule because they are able to take mental health breaks as needed. Although some projects have deadlines, most copywriters and freelancers work on their own schedule. They can also work from the comfort of their own home — another significant stress reducer.

Want to learn more about opportunities as a copywriter?

IT & Software Support

Information technology support workers are hired by companies to oversee and maintain their computer hardware and software systems. Technical support workers diagnose and troubleshoot common problems, as well as support the integration of computer software. Other responsibilities can include database administration and application development.

man-working-with-software

A person with bipolar disorder will appreciate solitary work (as tech work often is) and some work opportunities may even be remote. Tech companies tend to have more generous policies regarding health — including mental health. They’re also known for having a more relaxed approach and easier cultural standards such as time off.

Want to learn more about opportunities in IT?

Warehouse Jobs

A warehouse worker is generally in charge of overseeing stock, shipments, and packing orders. They often work with management by creating reports and actively monitoring inventory while keeping precise records of goods stored and stocked. Other tasks include opening containers and stocking products. Attention to detail and good organizational skills are important for this job.

Some people with bipolar disorder who work in warehouse jobs say that they appreciate the autonomy this job provides. They also like the challenge and focus that the manual work has because they say concentration can keep their mood at a level plateau.

Interested in warehouse opportunities?

Librarian

A librarian is in charge of collecting, organizing, and issuing library resources such as books, films, and audio files. Job duties include issuing resources, cataloging books, and conducting regular audits. Librarians can work in a range of settings including public libraries, schools, and museums.

Being a librarian can be very calming for those with bipolar disorder due to the quiet atmosphere. Mentally, books can also be positively distracting — a welcome way to get out of any negative headspace.

Interested in opportunities as a librarian?

Vet Tech

Veterinary Technicians (also referred to as Vet Techs) are specialized assistants whose job involves helping all types of animals live healthy and happy lives. Vet techs use medical knowledge and clinical skills to provide routine and emergency nursing care under the direction of a veterinarian. Tasks include performing laboratory tests, filling prescriptions, preparing animals for surgery, monitoring anesthesia, and assisting in surgical operations, in addition to monitoring and evaluating clinical symptoms.

two-vets-hugging-dog

Working as a vet tech can have highly therapeutic benefits for those who live with bipolar disorder. For one thing, interacting with animals — especially on a daily basis — has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and be an all-around mood booster. Having animals in your care can also be very grounding emotionally.

Interested in opportunities as a vet tecch?

Support for Success: Finding a Fit to Thrive

The specific careers that we’ve described above are simply initial possibilities. Individuals with bipolar disorder can thrive in a wide array of roles. Keeping in mind the basic concerns we’ve outlined, you can find a suitable position in most fields.

In some ways, the most challenging aspect of your job search might be learning enough about a potential role to make an informed decision. When talking to prospective employers, remember that you’re entitled to ask relevant questions. Gauge the responsibilities of the role, the associated pressure, and the general working environment.

After all, it’s far better to spend time evaluating your job prospects proactively, rather than discovering significant issues once you start. You deserve a job suited to your needs and abilities, so gather key information before making any commitments.

At Joblist, we’re eager to lend a hand however we can. Our platform gathers listings from a powerful mix of sources, so you’ll never miss the perfect position. We also help you personalize your search, so you can set parameters that you’re comfortable with. Start your search to find the ideal opportunity, so your work success never comes at the expense of your well-being.

Learn More

Bipolar disorder can pose challenges in many essential dimensions of daily life. From the regulation of emotions to the maintenance of relationships, bipolar disorder can raise persistent obstacles – especially when left untreated.

Yet, the difficulties of the disorder are often most apparent in the realm of employment. People with bipolar disorder regularly report that their condition has negatively affected their careers. Moreover, individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder often withdraw from the workforce, reducing their work or ceasing to be employed altogether.

In some cases, the severity of manic or depressive symptoms makes consistent employment untenable. Some individuals with bipolar disorder qualify for disability benefits, which are appropriate given their acute and ongoing needs.

However, most people with bipolar disorder are capable of sustained and substantive employment, particularly once their symptoms are successfully managed with medication. So why do so many people with bipolar disorder remain underemployed and out of work?

One major cause is a lack of understanding or accommodations among American businesses. Studies show that employees with bipolar disorder are often stigmatized in the workplace, and treated unfairly by managers and colleagues as a result. When professionals with bipolar disorder ask for accommodations to support their success, they are frequently dismissed or excluded. Clearly, more progress is warranted in terms of awareness and advocacy.

Among individuals with bipolar disorder, another chief reason for workforce attrition is the harmful potential of professional stress. According to experts, workplace stressors can trigger painful symptoms, disrupting the equilibrium that people with bipolar disorder strive to achieve.

In some offices, looming deadlines drive collective anxiety. Other settings are full of stressful stimuli, such as booming background noise. Elsewhere, interpersonal conflict leads to ambient tension. Each of these scenarios could undermine the well-being of someone with bipolar disorder.

Accordingly, for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, finding the right employment fit can be essential to living happily and productively. Thankfully, many careers offer an appealing mix of interesting work and little stress. In this article, we aim to help you find one.

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