Here are some of the things that have helped me at work
- Have a routine- try to start and finish at the same time every day. If the mood swings are very frequent this would bring a semblance of normalcy to your days.
- Talk to your boss- It has helped me greatly that my boss knows about my BPD. It does not mean he will tolerate if I slack off at work but, he has been asking questions to understand my triggers and symptoms and has generally tried to make the office environment more inclusive. Share only if you are comfortable
- eg: If you are uncomfortable bringing out your ideas in a group discussion format try to think of an alternative that would work for you and tell your boss about it, chances are, you are not the only person with that problem.
- Take each day as it comes- let us face some days are going to be shitty, it is okay. Let it be
- Make a safe space- If you have an office room, try to put up some pictures on the wall or spruce it up with some DIY decor that appeals to you, if your work space is a desk maybe you can keep some framed pictures of your loved ones.
- Leave some distress tolerance tools- Keep some things around that could help you in overwhelming situations. I keep an ice pack in the office refrigerator, a small vial of lavender oil (the strong smell gives me a distraction), a red marker and white paper because, see picture below.
Suggestions: Stress relief balls, rubberbands
- Taking walks- If you think it is inappropriate to go outside, just a 5-minute stroll in the corridor?
- Take time to have a proper lunch- It is better not to eat at your work table. If going with colleagues for lunch is too overwhelming, try looking for a place where you can relax and eat in peace
- Find what works for you- Concentration is hard to come by sometimes. So I try to break down working hours into small chunks of 1.5 hours. After every 1.5 hours, I read a WordPress post or read few pages of a book or journal a bit or just get up and stretch.
- It takes an average person about 23 minutes to focus again once distracted, so try to leave your phone away and all the mail notifications off while working. They will only make work more difficult
- Tackling the open office- I honestly hope you don’t have to work in one but if you are then it is essential to have a space (worst case scenario, bathroom?) where you can sit and unwind.
- Don’t be intimidated by others work routine. They don’t know your struggle and you don’t know theirs (most probably).
- Keep a journal, track your distraction triggers.
What are the things that help you at work?