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Dealing With Depression at Work: What You Need to Know

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Working with a therapist or support group is the best way to help you cope with your symptoms, which in turn will help you better manage your professional life.

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Dealing With Depression at Work: What You Need to Know

Dealing With Depression at Work: What You Need to Know

https://www.themuse.com/advice/dealing-with-depression-at-work-what-you-need-to-know

themuse.com

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Key Ideas

Find Support

It’s key to find trusted friends or family who can support you through this difficult time. 

Participating in a depression and anxiety therapy group is a great way to learn coping strategies for the workplace from other participants.

Set Clear Goals

  • Set very clear goals for yourself and be realistic about what you would be able to accomplish. Do it on a daily basis.
  • Create lists for the day and highlight your top priorities.
  • Double-check any important memos, give yourself extra time to prepare assignments, and have a colleague give your work a second look.
The road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

Speak Up

If things are incredibly difficult, or if you need to take more time off than your mental health days allow, you may need to say something to your employer. 

Don’t feel obligated to disclose details. If you’re taking a lot of time off or you’re worried others will wonder what’s going on, you can tell them that you’ve been “dealing with some health issues” and leave it at that. Or, consult with HR to determine the best approach.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s okay to take time to take care of yourself—in fact, it’s actually a very important factor in your professional success

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Recognize the signs
  • You're tired all the time. 
  • Cooperating with colleagues takes an enormous effort. 
  • You keep your office door shut and interact with your computer. 
  • ...
Take a mental health break

It's hard when you can't function as well as you're used to, but slogging on doesn't work when you're in a downward spiral. 

When you're at a crossroads in terms of your mental health, you need to really say, 'OK, I'm going to ask for five days off. That might mean the difference between me not having a mental health breakdown, or needing to take additional time off.

Find treatment
"Depression is no different from any other chronic condition," says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. 

"To stay with it and maintain an independent and productive life -- it's important to identify it, get the appropriate treatment and then stick with that treatment." 

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Identify your triggers
Identify your triggers

When you identify what's causing you stress, it becomes much easier to manage it:

  • At times it’s not that difficult to spot the root of your mental health issues: an external anno...
Assess what you can change

When you recognize your external triggers, you can figure out what changes you can make to manage them.

  • If having too many Zoom meetings is draining your energy, see if you can make your meetings shorter, or assess when and where you presence is not critically needed.
  • If you’re stretched too thin and have the power to do so, you can think about delegating, or ask your boss what you should prioritize and what you can complete later.
Asking for professional help

Sometimes eliminating external stressors just isn't enough. When you find yourself in a prolonged state of stress, it’s time to get the help of a professional.

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your quality of life and can also make physical health issues worse.

Psychological Effects of Working from Home
  • Loneliness and isolation. And loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms like random pain.
  • Anxiety and pressure. The bounda...
Symptoms of Depression
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even with unimportant matters.
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy for even the smallest activities.
  • Increased cravings for food.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Avoiding people.
Take Care of Your Mental Health

...while working from home:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your tasks (and breaks) will help you to mentally prepare for the day.
  • Have a dedicated comfortable workspace, with a door that closes, preferably.
  • Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping.
  • Foster social connections (on the phone or via the internet, if physical contact is not possible).
  • Learn to say no. Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload, and don’t extend yourself beyond them.