How to Balance Work and Mental Illness

Happy woman

Work can be incredibly demanding, and it can take a toll on your mental health. When you suffer from mental illness, persistent stress from work can lead to a decrease in productivity, debilitating depression, strained relationships with your friends and family, as well as an inability to focus on your job. When left unchecked, these issues can lead to more serious problems. These tips will help you manage both your work and your mental illness.

Accept that you need help

You don’t have to suffer in silence. The longer you go without seeking professional help, the worse your condition will get until you’re unable to work at all. The only way to prevent your mental illness from further interfering with your job is to reach out, whether you’re suffering from severe depression or an eating disorder. Seek out a therapist or a binge eating disorder recovery center where you can get the help that you need.

Familiarize yourself with your rights

Don’t wait until it’s too late to disclose your mental health issues. Properly communicating your situation to your superiors ensures that you get the best legal protection available. Familiarize yourself with your mental health rights in the workplace as an employee with a disability that has an adverse effect on your normal activities.

Identify the first signs of trouble

Pay attention to your behavior and keep track of what situations trigger your mental health issues. For some, it might be attending a company function, while for others, it’s having a heavy workload that they can’t handle. Identifying what particular stressors exacerbate your problems will help you better prepare and respond to them the next time they happen.

Disclose your problems as early as possible


The earlier you disclose your mental health issues to your superiors, the more they’ll be able to accommodate your needs. This also prevents you from allowing your problems to get to the point where it eventually impedes your work performance. Just be sure to only disclose what’s necessary, and be clear about what exactly you need to be able to perform your duties efficiently.

Prepare a Plan B

If your employer is unable to make the necessary accommodations you request, you need a secondary plan to ensure that you can still fulfill your duties without issue. Speak to your supervisors and try to come up with a compromise that will satisfy all parties. If they still aren’t willing to make arrangements to help you out, figure out what you can do to address your problems when they arise, or you can consider finding another job.

Know your limits

There are certain workplaces that just aren’t receptive to employees with mental health problems. If you are having a difficult time balancing both your mental health issues and your professional duties, don’t forget that you can always leave. No job is worth sacrificing your health over. There are always other prospects that you can explore who will be more accommodating towards your issues. Know your limits, and know when to cut your losses when it becomes too much of a burden.

Juggling mental health issues with professional obligations can be tough, but keeping these tips in mind may help you get a better grasp of your situation.