When I speak at corporate events, one of the most asked questions has to do with depression and stress at work. “How does one eliminate stress and deal with depression at work?” Well, everyone is different and we handle stress and depression in individual styles, even sometimes not handling stress or depression at all. There are some things that are pretty standard to help you start working towards dealing better with depression on the job, and these are the same tips that I expertly give at my conferences and to my private clients.
First, don’t let work take precedence over recovery or even seeking help. Work is important, but it is only one aspect of your life. What is most important is your health, including your mental health. Even on the busiest of days, remember that recovery or connecting with the best help resource is your top priority. The rest of it comes secondary to your health.
And, as cliche as it may sound, don’t let the past define today or tomorrow. It is hard for us, as humans, to realize that problems caused by your symptoms in the past will not necessarily repeat themselves, yet many of us who battle and deal with depression feel like failure is unavoidable. Know that no one is perfect and we all have setbacks and room for improvement. A total lack of energy that once caused you to miss a crucial deadline doesn’t mean you are unreliable or that you have a pattern of missing deadlines. When we feel blue, it is hard to keep things in perspective, but it is something we have to remind ourselves to do- even if we have to write it down on our ‘to do’ list each and every day.
Schedule better. I tell everyone this as life is hard as it is, bad scheduling makes everything feel worse! Make sure you schedule time to find time and energy to devote to managing your depression. Reflect upon your daily or weekly schedule and look for activities, both at home and at work, that could be delegated to others. Involving coworkers in shared responsibilities and asking family members to help with chores is a way to help manage your depression. By scheduling help, you can make time to get some help with a support group, online counseling, in-person counseling, or just time aside to do something that you like!
Depression at work can be hard to manage, but there options to help you move your treatment plan forward without adding stress to your current situation.