How to deal with depression at workplace

Depression is a mental illness which is becoming rampant. Sometimes it is as handicapping as a physical illness too. Unfortunately, we as individuals do not consider it an illness which is a struggle to cope with. This makes things more difficult at work or anywhere else outside of our safe space. Although seeking help is the ideal thing to do in such situations, we also need to know what we can do ourselves to handle such issues. Since work and career is an important part of our lives, here is what we can do to feel better:
Know your symptoms: Depression as an illness makes us feel sad for a prolonged period of time. (For clinical depression, sad mood should last at least for 2 weeks.) This makes us feel tired all the time. Furthermore, working together with your colleagues or even talking to them feels like an enormous effort. One keeps wanting to frequent the rest-rooms due to their crying spells. Concentration becomes a luxury and productivity decreases. Deadlines are not motivating anymore and procrastination befriends us. In fact, we lose motivation to perform our day- to- day activities at times.
Get support from someone at your workplace: If you feel your boss is open to such discussions without any judgments, be truthful about your mental state. Or at least let one person at work know, so that you feel supported. Usually, depression is followed by a sense of loneliness. Hence letting someone know about your mental health, helps to do away with this sense of loneliness. Further, you will also have support just in case you do not finish your work on time. It will make you feel understood and helped.
Set very clear goals for yourself: You will find yourself feeling lost and all over the place with all your work assignments, because focusing on work becomes a challenge. Understand that it is the depression doing this to you and do not be hard on yourself when you are unable to complete tasks at work. Instead, make a list of all the tasks to complete, so that you feel like your day has a structure. Highlight the tasks which is of top priority and work on making progress towards those. This gives us a sense of direction, which is less overwhelming.
Take care of your body and mind: Ensure that your diet is in place. Get a good night’s sleep. Try as much to make time for a brisk walk in between work too. This jogs up your endorphins, which naturally makes us feel better. Take care of your mind by journaling the thoughts that come to your head, whenever you feel low. This is not for others, but for yourself to be aware of what exactly is troubling you. The easiest reaction is to beat ourselves when we feel low. Journaling would probably help you the externalize your fears and not blame yourself for what you are going through.

Finally, remember to Take care of yourself and choose YOU: Most of the times people do not seek help because they prioritize their work over their own selves. But one fails to understand that, the more you continue to work in this state of mind, the less useful you are going to be at work. Invariably, your stress also increases. If only we pause and learn to choose ourselves for some time, a lot more clarity is gained. Take help from a professional and work through your worries and fears. You will feel lifted and can put it in the needed amount of time at work too.
Always keep in mind that although depression makes you feel lonely, you are not alone in this. There are people out there to help you out of your miseries. Remember “It is ok not to be ok, but it is not ok not to seek help”

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Sahana

Sahana Tantry

Psychologist & Outreach Associate,
Mpower – The Centre Bangalore