Depression can happen for many reasons and it can happen anywhere. One of the most common places to trigger depression is the workplace. An uncomfortable environment, stressful duties and responsibilities, and the ever-shifting landscape of interpersonal interaction can make work the perfect breeding ground for mental illness. Fortunately, there are steps for how to overcome depression at work.
- Get Help
- As with all forms of depression, workplace depression is a serious mental health concern. The best thing you can do is to speak with a qualified mental health professional. They will help you design and implement a treatment plan tailored to your own particular case. This plan might include counseling sessions, lifestyle changes, or antidepressant medication. Whatever you and your therapist decide upon, it’s important that you stick with the plan. If you have problems or if it seems the plan isn’t working, contact your doctor.
- Stay Active
- Exercise is good for a huge number of health problems, depressionincluded. You may not be able to spend an hour at work walking around the building, but little bursts of activity can add up fast. Instead of emailing or calling someone down the hall, standing up from your desk and go see them in person. This has the added benefits of making you seem more open and friendly, and may also encourage your co-workers to also get up and move around.
- Take Control of Your Environment
- Most office spaces are designed to be spartan—even sterile. It is your responsibility to turn your workspace into an environment that is relaxing and stress-reducing. Some suggestions include keeping a plant or pictures of family on your desk, or putting up beautiful or inspiring images.
It’s also important to keep your workspace clean and organized. A major source of stress and depression is when your desk or other work areas are cluttered, dirty, or when it takes you too long to find things you need. Clear off your desk and you’ll feel more prepared to deal with whatever your work throws at you.
- Add Variety to Your Day
- Many of our jobs are repetitive, even tedious. As much as you are able, separate your day into different periods for different things. If you have an exciting project, split it up over the course of the day. That can keep you energized through the slow periods. Also, remember to break any complex task into smaller parts. This makes it seem easier and you’ll panic less when you think of what you have to do to complete it.
- Your co-workers are not strange creatures to be avoided. We are social animals, and one of the most mood-uplifting things you can do is to interact with others. Stop by your friends’ offices or cubicles during the day, even if only for a few seconds. And if you can talk a group into starting a daily afternoon walk or other similar activity, you can get in your exercise, too (see above).
- Stay Engaged with Your Work
- Finally, try to stay engaged and focused on what you do and why. Set goals for yourself and you’ll find yourself proud and more confident when you achieve them. Understand how each action you take is leading you to a better life. If you can appreciate your work and feel strongly about your performance, it will be hard to get depressed by going to the office each day.
Knowing how to overcome depression at work can be hard, if only because you may feel trapped in your job. By adjusting your outlook just a bit, though, you can begin to see your job as an exciting challenge that encourages you to grow every day.