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Dealing With Depression at Work: What You Need to Know

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.

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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

Get Help

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.

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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Self-isolation and parenting

Parenting while practicing self-isolation is not about doing everything a hundred percent all the time. It's about doing as much as you possibly can.

Something is better than nothing,...

It's really, really hard

It's hard to work from home and parent. Working from home full time during regular workday hours, care for your children, and sprinkle in a mix of homeschooling, is essentially asking parents to do multiple full-time jobs simultaneously.

  • Many parents relax screen time rules for now.
  • Get on a schedule if you find it helpful, or refuse to feel guilty for lack of a schedule.
  • Set up many FaceTime and Zoom dates with your friends and your kid's friends, and grandparents.
  • Understanding the situation of working-from-home-parents will go a long way by not holding their diminished productivity against them.
  • If you're a manager, there's no harm in announcing at the beginning of your conference call that it's OK if there are little voices from time to time.
Explaining the unsure future to children.
  • It is best to be honest when you have to talk about when a child will be going back to school or reschedule their birthday party when you don't know yourself.
  • You can say that some scientists think it would be a few months, but you don't really know yet. Then ask them how they feel about that and if they have questions. See what information you can find together.

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Reach out and stay connected

You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking

Staying connected to ot...

How to reach out for support
  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. They just need to be a good listener.
  • Make face-time a priority. Talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Find ways to support others. 
  • Caring for a pet can get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed.
  • Join a support group for depression. 
Do things that make you feel good

Do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

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