How to Stay Productive at Work While Feeling Depressed


Depression in the workplace is a difficult subject. We occasionally hear about it in the news but a lot of workplaces still don’t broach the subject and don’t realize the impact that it has on productivity, engagement and even retention.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, depression is one of the most common illnesses that is often misunderstood. Everyone feels blue or down once and a while, but when it lingers for weeks and  starts to affect all areas of your life it can signal that you are suffering from depression.

There are times in your life when you just don’t want to do anything anymore. You are tired, depressed, and feel stuck. You stare at the clock as minutes tick by agonizingly slow.  If there were a place you could runaway to in a far off land, or maybe another planet, you would happily do so.

You want to give up.

Picture this:

It’s 8 am in the morning and you have to go to work again. The pain worsens with the ringing alarm every darned morning. You wish you could take a leave, but for many reasons, you can’t. What would one day do anyway? And they certainly won’t give you an entire month off. And even if they could for some people it is not financially possible to take a month or more off.

There is only one way to deal with your sore situation. By forcing yourself to get up, get ready, and get out every morning and doing your level best at NOT giving up.

Here are other suggestions and tips that may help you stay productive in the workplace while feeling depressed:

  1. Morning Exercise:

    Doctors have proved the importance of exercise for your physical and mental well-being, time and time again. Get up early and go for a jog to spark up that vigorous “mood” you need for work. Exercise has proved to boost productivity, mood and morale. This is possibly due to the feel-good chemical called endorphin released during exercise which works as a natural anti-depressant.

  2. Sleep Well:

    The importance of an adequate sleep is undisputed. Not having enough sleep will cause your body to lock down due to lack of rest and additional pressure. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on your Zzz’s during a slumpy, down-in-the-dumps episode. The added stress on the body will make you feel much worse the next day.

  3. Take breaks:

    You might not be able to take a long-term leave, but you probably can take short breaks during your work. Don’t skip that lunch break no matter what and make the best of it AWAY from you desk. Taking multiple short breaks is also acceptable, and in many cases advisable if your nature of work lacks activity.

  4. Bring in the Light:

    You may have heard that working in a brightly-lit environment improves productivity levels (hint: Hawthorne effect). However, you probably weren’t aware of the fact that light can work as a therapy for depressed workers. According to the National Institute of Health you can fight the winter blues simply by letting light in your workspace. Their research reveals that “light therapy relieves SAD symptoms for as much as 70% of patients after a few weeks of treatment”.

  5. Use Calming Techniques

    If your mood causes frustration and confusion, it might help to use calming techniques to re-focus on your work. Meditative music can to do the job of lightening your mood, reducing stress, and reducing pain before you begin your daily chores (if you prefer fast-paced stimulating music, that’s fine too as long as it makes you feel better). You can also use deep breathing techniques to relax. Try this: Inhale through your mouth and fill your lungs till you have counted 5 seconds. Then hold for 2 more second, and slowly exhale through your nose counting another 5 seconds. Take a few minutes to do this exercise at your desk alone (without distractions).

  6. Talk to Someone

    Sometimes, your “low” mood can only be fixed by plucking out the root and chucking it away. This would be the exact reason for your depression. Find out what’s bothering you and talk to someone about your problems.

About the Author:

Alison provides dissertation help at Dissertation Cube where students come with their dissertations. In spare time she writes blogs for students starting their career and for those who are still in jobs. Find her on Google+.

 Picture credit: Pixabay

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