If you deal with crying spells, fatigue, lack of motivation, and sadness while you’re at work, it could be work depression. Work depression can arise from a variety of factors.
If you’re already dealing with depression, of course, it will probably affect your time at work just as it does your time away from work.
You can also experience depression as a result of factors at work. Work factors can also combine with other life stressors to grow into something larger than either of them would be on their own.
It’s important to address work depression.
Treat Underlying Causes
A first step in coping with work depression is to treat it just as you would any other type of depression. Seek a medical evaluation for physical causes or reach out to a therapist. At the same time, learn about things you can do on your own to help depression outside of work.
Unfortunately, work environments themselves can often contribute to depression. Do you have negative, manipulative bosses and co-workers? Are you expected to work long hours with little to no flexibility from your supervisors?
There’s also the chance that you are truly unfulfilled with what you’re doing. You know you need to pay the bills, and you could handle a less-than-perfect job for a while. But with time, it can wear you down emotionally and physically.
During Your Breaks
Breaks can be out of your control, but when you can, be sure to take them.
Resist the urge to slouch down in the staff break room with a soda and candy bar. Instead, take a quick walk around your building or even in the building if it’s large enough. You’ll increase your oxygen and energy level with a bit of movement.
This is a simple technique that just involves sitting quietly for a few minutes while paying attention to the immediate present. Focus on your breath, the sounds you hear, the sensations on your skin. Let your thoughts flow by.
You may feel very rejuvenated after this simple step. You can do this on a bathroom break or sitting at your desk.
The power of deep breathing in helping with depression and anxiety is well documented. While you may not be able to whip out your yoga mat and burn incense at work, you can still pay attention to your breath without others noticing.
Use the 4-4-4 method by inhaling deeply for four seconds, holding it for four seconds, and exhaling for four seconds.
Little creature comforts can go a long way in helping you get through the workday when you’re depressed. Think of a few of these and keep them at your desk or easily accessible. They could include:
- Favorite essential oil scents on a cotton ball in a bottle (peppermint is good for an energy boost and headaches)
- Favorite hand oil
- A list of things that make you happy
- A list of things you’re thankful for
- A copy of a comic that always makes you laugh, or something else humorous (humor helps improve your mood)
Control What You Can
While you may not be able to control everything at your work, be proactive about controlling what you can. This might even include looking for a different job.
It’s important to not give up hope and not let your work depression take over your life. Therapy is another very helpful option to help you cope with work depression. Together, we can explore what’s causing your depression and strategize ways to make it get better. There is always hope. Please call my office to learn more.