Depression or depressive episodes affect each person differently, but regardless of the specific symptoms, depression at work can feel even more difficult to handle. In 2017, over 17 million adults in the United States suffered from at least one major depressive episode. That’s 7.1% of the population. With such prevalence, many people have dealt with the problems of having depression not just at home, but with their colleagues and peers. Luckily there are some ways to deal with the effects of depression in the workplace.
The Effects of Depression at Work
There are lots of reasons that you might be frustrated or unhappy with work. You might feel bored, tired, or undervalued. Or you might feel easily irritated and have difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand. For those suffering from major depressive disorder, these feelings can be intensified and get in the way of doing their jobs. Because careers are such an important part of our lives—and we spend so much time working—depression at work can feel difficult to manage. Especially if your job is high-pressure or fast-paced, depression can feel insurmountable.
Symptoms of depression—including feelings of hopelessness, trouble remembering details, and changes in your sleep patterns—can affect you in many ways. Depression at work can make it difficult to manage deadlines, pay attention to co-workers in meetings, or stay awake and alert for eight hours or longer. You might also feel a loss of interest in your job. Even if you work in a field or industry you find exciting, you have to remember that depression is a disease and it can cause you to feel detached and apathetic about your goals.
And the effects of depression can snowball if you don’t find ways to cope with them. If you’re suffering from the typical symptoms of depression at work, it’s important that you learn how to manage them so that you’re able to go through each day with confidence.
Dealing with Emotional Swings at Work
It’s important to first find out whether your feelings of sadness or loneliness are related to depression or if they are linked to external factors related to your job. Depression at work can be tricky to pinpoint if you’re unhappy with other aspects of your job, like your salary or the personalities of your coworkers. There are also difficult parts of working that are not caused by you, and you should make sure not to internalize others’ actions. If you’re unsure if you’re depressed, see a medical professional or take a free online screening to identify depression.
Put Your Health First
If you’re dealing with depression at work, it’s important to remember to prioritize yourself. If you need to take a few days off to regroup and take care of yourself, do it. While “mental health days” are not recognized by most employers, find a way to make time for yourself by scheduling a shift off or calling in sick, if necessary. If you don’t dedicate time to yourself, workplace depression can cause you to miss even more days or not do your best on the job. If you can be honest with your manager or someone in the HR department, talk about your concerns and let them know that taking time off now is a benefit for yourself and the business.
Set Goals and Priorities
For many people, depression at work can cause difficulty focusing and setting clear goals for day-to-day tasks. Every morning, make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish immediately, soon, and in the future. Then, number them in the order they need to be completed. You can outline your tasks on a fresh sheet of paper or use project management software to keep you organized. A journal can also help you take notes and keep track of how you’re feeling each day. Depression at work can make you feel overwhelmed by what you have to do, and creating a list of priorities can help you stay on track and meet deadlines.
Take Care of Yourself Outside of Work
While you may want to focus on things you can do in the office to handle depression at work, you should also look at your daily routine and make sure that you’re taking care of yourself at home too. This may take the form of exercising daily, changing your diet, or making sure you get enough sleep each night. Find which parts of your day make you feel the best—and don’t skip them.
How Mid City TMS Can Help You Deal with Depression at Work
Founded by Dr. Bryan Bruno, Mid City TMS is a New York center for transcranial magnetic stimulation, a convenient and effective treatment for depression. TMS uses magnetic pulses to create electric currents in areas of the brain with low activity, and Dr. Bruno has successfully treated hundreds of patients with long-term results.
If you’re grappling with depression at work, contact Mid City TMS for more information or to schedule an appointment with our expert team.