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Posts Tagged ‘holiday season’

Thanks to some weird scheduling, I haven’t had to work since Monday night. I work at a big box chain store, in the apparel and jewelry departments. During the holiday season I certainly appreciate some stroke of luck that led to four days off in a row, even if it’s at the expense of my bank account.

Working during the holidays can be a new kind of hell for bipolar people in retail. Working crazy hours that throw off sleep schedules, demanding customers that can tweak guilt complexes, breakneck speed that can leave you feeling manic, and unrealistic expectations for productivity can bring out bipolar triggers like nothing else. I’ve found a few ways to deal with all of these things however.

1. If you do the best work that you can, it’s harder for guilt trips about productivity from management to take hold.

2. Take any and all breaks on time. Knowing that the day will be split up in predictable and routine ways helps me to manage my bipolar triggers by giving me back some control over the day. It lets me say to myself “I only have to hold it together for 20 more minutes! Then it’s time for me to relax”.

3. Don’t take on other people’s work. I’m tempted to try to help my fellow coworkers out by helping them with a task, but during the holidays you have to look out for yourself.

4. Get a note from your psychiatrist of psychologist if you’re scheduled hours that throw off your sleep schedule. Sleep is one of theĀ  most important variables in keeping bipolar under control. Ask for your doctor to write a note explaining that you can’t work past X’oclock if necessary. It’s made my life so much easier. I don’t have to worry about having a breakdown in front of my coworkers because I’m scheduled to work til 11PM.

5. Have a mantra. I normally stay away from advice like this, but ever since my first holiday season in retail I found myself saying “Breathe in, breathe out”. It just helps me let go of irritating customers and coworkers. My mantra has become sort of a motto at my workplace; if we see another worker looking overwhelmed we tell them to breathe in and breathe out.

I hope this list helps you a bit should you also work in retail. Wish me luck as I go back from my mini-vacation!

-Ashes

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