Being an adult is not easy. You are prone to experiencing pressure, burnout, and quarter-life crisis, which could lead to clinical depression. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 264 million people across the globe suffer from depression and anxiety. Depression can greatly affect your quality of life and eat away at your mental health.
Once you start noticing the symptoms of depression, never ignore or deny them out of shame or doubt because that will only worsen the condition. Instead, you should make a conscious effort to do something about the illness before it affects your work and lessens your productivity. Here are some tips on how to maintain professionalism and cope with depression in the workplace.
First, you should recognize the signs and ask yourself these questions: Do you feel happy about your work? Do you have a hard time dealing with your colleagues’ attitudes? Do you feel stressed and unmotivated all the time? Do you experience frequent breakdowns that hamper your productivity? Do you still feel a sense of fulfillment with your work?
If you ever find yourself exhibiting these signs and symptoms, the best response would be to get yourself diagnosed and seek treatment from a psychiatrist as soon as possible. It might be terrifying and difficult to accept at first, but you need to recognize that depression is a serious illness that can be treated. However, there is no one-size-fits-all cure to this illness, so you need to take the time to understand your condition and acquire the appropriate treatment from a professional.
Learn to Say No
Taking care of yourself is equally important as earning money for a living. While there is nothing wrong with being hardworking and career-driven, you should remember that your mental health is always more important. For instance, at work, you should never bite off more than what you can chew to avoid unnecessary stress and burnout. If you always say yes to everything, you will end up feeling exhausted and unmotivated in the long run. Besides, being too much of a workaholic is not worth the trouble if the stress spills over your social and personal life.
The key to fighting depression is to strike that work-life balance, and one way to do that is to learn how to prioritize. You can start by developing a good self-care regimen, organizing your workday, setting clear and achievable goals, and taking things one day at a time. Most importantly, always remember to go easy on yourself and know that you are not alone in this battle against mental illness.
Find a Creative Outlet
Another effective way to cope with depression is to keep yourself preoccupied. Do not be afraid to explore some healthy forms of distraction like meditating, heading out to the gym, organizing your work desk, cleaning up the house, treating yourself to a snack, trying out new cooking recipes, reading inspiring books,0 and watching meaningful films.
It is also a good idea to harness your depression into finding a creative outlet you can enjoy. Why not try out a new hobby for the first time? Photography, for instance, can be an escape from work stress. You can simply dust off your old camera if you own one, rent one from a trusted outlet, or even buy your own camera gear and equipment so you can get started. This can be an effective form of release, which is essential for people who struggle with depression. Who knows, it might grow to be your passion or even an extra source of income, should you decide to pursue it in the long run.
While it may be hard to confide to people about your condition, sooner or later you would have to speak to your boss to make him understand the type of illness you are dealing with. It might be a huge step to consider or maybe even a risk to some, but this can enable you to have a better working environment that would suit your needs. Also, it is the only way you can assess whether the company you work for values your mental health as their employee and as an individual.
Aside from this, you should have a solid support system that you can rely on while you combat your depression. It can be your family, a close friend, a relative, your boss, co-workers, a partner, or anyone who is willing to walk with you through your struggles. In the same way, you should be able to provide help and support to those who need it too. Believe it or not, love and affection are human necessities that everyone deserves, with or without depression.
Fight the Stigma
To make your road to recovery more meaningful, you should consider being an advocate for mental health awareness. Given the prevalence of the stigma associated with mental illness to this day, most people who deal with depression are either perceived as fragile or even blamed for their condition.
When you become a mental health awareness advocate, you can channel your condition to increase awareness and fight the stigma surrounding depression and all forms of mental illnesses. You can start through simple conversations with people telling them how important it is to acknowledge one’s struggles and reminding them that their feelings are valid. A simple post in social media sharing your experiences in dealing with depression can definitely go a long way, even if it helps only one person. What really matters is that as you empower yourself, you also get to empower other people.
Much like being an adult, living with depression is no easy feat, especially in the workplace where you need to keep things together most of the time. While coping with depression is not as fast as healing from a fever or an injury, there are plenty of ways to combat mental illness and get the right help you need. Hopefully, these tips can serve as the first step to guide you on your road to a fruitful recovery. Until then, continue to work and live to fight another day.