Sometimes, even after following all the right paths and taking all the right steps, the inevitable has to happen. Sometimes we just can’t cope and are left with few choices. So where do we turn from here? The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many people who have had to rejig their ‘life plans’ or even tear them up all together and start again.

I had been teaching for ten years when I became ill and was heartbroken to have to leave the profession.


To start moving forwards you need to think about three things:

What CAN you cope with doing?

Rather than focusing on the things that you can no longer do, think about the tasks and skills you still have. If you start from this point, you can begin to build up a picture of your capabilities at work.

  • Though I couldn’t cope in a classroom setting, I could still work one on one.

What did you love about your job?

Again, searching for the positives instead of the negatives can help you to work out which avenues you wanted to pursue.

  • I loved the pastoral care, helping stroppy teenagers find their way through life and understand their emotional responses and reactions.
  • I loved interacting with people on a daily basis.

What can you commit to?

You may not be able to work at the same pace or keep the same hours as before, but what CAN you commit to?

  • Though I couldn’t cope with full days at work, I could manage commitments in the afternoon and early evenings (particularly if I could set my own hours).

Once you have worked through these three questions you need to look for opportunities which can help you combine all of the factors you have worked out.

So I was looking for:

  • part time hours in the afternoons and evenings (set by me)
  • working with people one to one
  • helping someone understand their reactions to life and their emotions

After considering the options, I decided that retraining as a counsellor would be the best option and found a highly regarded national organisation offering part time training programs in Psychodynamic Counselling. I started in 2017 and am enormously excited about the future.

If you break down the mammoth task of working out what you want to do, the answer may leap out at you straight away, and if not, it might give you ideas as to where to go next. Here are a few suggestions from for jobs you can do at home, working around your illnesses.