Can Depression At Work Actually Be Burnout
Burnout happens when weve exhausted all our coping mechanisms. Its a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion from being exposed to prolonged stress. You become overwhelmed at work and constant demands. Youre left feeling that you cant cope or function normally.
Previously burnout was known as a nervous or mental breakdown. Know that however its referred to, its a temporary condition that can be treated and youll bounce back again.
When we reach a state of burnout, weve suffered from untreated anxiety, depression and fear for some time. You just cant cope or continue anymore. Some people have an emotional outburst, cry hysterically, just cant pull themselves out of bed or even flee.
When people take flight, they usually run from their situation without having any destination or intention in mind. Theyre just trying to escape their mental and emotional trauma.
Improve Your Eating Habits
Research continues to find clear links between diet and mental health. In fact, there have been so many studies that have shown improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness that nutritional psychiatry is becoming mainstream.
There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, a 2012 study found that zinc deficiency is associated with symptoms of depression.
Improving your diet could be key to reducing your symptoms.
But before you make any major changes to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician.
Symptoms Of Depression At Work
Often the effects of depression will impact how someone behaves at work, resulting in a myriad of personal and professional complications. If a person continues to experience issues or anxieties within their workplace, symptoms may become increasingly more evident.
Some symptoms of work depression to be aware of include:
- Low mood, feelings of sadness
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Changes in appetite including lack of or increased appetite
- Low energy
- Suicidal thoughts or ideations
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What Accommodations Can You Ask For When Youre Depressed
Mental healthissues are no different than physical disabilities when it comes to making accommodations in the workplace. You wouldnt shy away from asking your employer to build a wheelchair accessible route to your desk and you shouldnt feel hesitant to ask for accommodations that can lessen the burden of your mental illness at work.
If you are wary of sharing the details of your mental illness with your employers, there are many ways to get accommodation without sharing a diagnosis, says Jurgens.
For example, you may find your performance at work can be greatly improved with simple solutions like working from home one day a week, finding a quieter work area or asking for written rather than verbal instruction. Such accommodations can be arranged with little or no cost and without your employer needing to know your specific diagnosis.
Talk With Your Manager Or Hr
As difficult as this step is, it can be an important one. If youre noticing that your depression is impacting your work performance, it can help to clue your manager in on whats going on so that they can provide you with accommodations.
Being able to make accommodations or modifications to job tasks or demands can be the biggest support when youre living with depression, Matos says.
Things like flexibility in schedules, deadlines, or even modifications in job duties can help someone continue to perform at their job while coping with depression, she continues.
Plus, over time, those accommodations can help you build up your self-esteem and confidence again.
For example, if you have more time to take breaks or even time to go to a therapy session before work you might be able to slowly reduce the impact of your depression on your work and start to succeed again.
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I Think I Might Be Depressed But How Do I Know For Sure
If you suspect youre suffering from depression at work, you probably are. Its not something that we desire or invite into our lives. The first thing to do is not feel guilty or tell yourself to be strong and get over yourself. That will just make you feel weak and inadequate, so quit doing that!
Instead, consider the most common symptoms and see how you weigh up. How many of these describe you right now?
- Difficulty concentrating
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, but irrespective, theyll impact your work and home life. Until you accept that youre depressed, you might not understand whats going on.
If youre suddenly crying at work, depression could be the reason not your colleagues, manager or your perceived incompetence.
Signs And Symptoms Of Work Depression
Depression at work isnt just something we should care about individually. Research tells us it can actually be financially devastating in the workplace. In fact, its estimated that productivity loss due to depression costs roughly between $36 and $51 billion a year in the United States. Those in the workplace who are depressed tend to show more:
- On-the-job functional limitations
- Absences, compared with nondepressed coworkers
Work takes up a big chunk of our life,and for some people, depression and work go hand in hand. There are various emotional patterns and behaviors that can indicate work depression. Some of the most common things exhibited by people living with depression can include:
- Arriving late for work
- Experiencing constant anxiety about having to go to work
- Stressing out about work, even when youre away from your job
- Feeling very bored or having a general sense of complacency at work
- Finding it difficult to be motivated to perform your job
Other symptoms of work depression are very similar to those of common depression. They might include feelings of irritability, anxiousness, nervousness, sadness, helplessness, worthlessness, disinterest, and guilt.
Work depression might also cause changes in sleeping habits, like trouble falling or staying asleep. Sleep problems may become so prevalent that someone whos depressed at work might even be tempted to take naps during the day if they can get away with it.
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Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give in to your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than preferred emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats pleasurable or meaningful. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
The byproduct of engaging in meaningful activities can be a lift in your mood or energy, which can further motivate you to continue to engage in helpful activities that help with navigating symptoms.
Research suggests that walks in nature may improve depressive symptoms in people with clinical depression.
Time in natural spaces may improve mood and cognition, and lower the risk of mental health disorders. However, theres only limited research on the direct effect of nature on those with clinical depression.
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
How To Talk To Your Co
Although employees have the right to keep their illness completely private, in some cases it could be helpful to approach co-workers with some information. This may help avoid undue anxiety or office politics about the special considerations you may be receiving.
As an individual, you have to weigh the pros and cons. If it is causing a lot of stressand anxiety among co-workers, again, you dont have to share the diagnosis, explains Jurgens. Its often enough to state that these accommodations are for medical reasons, she says.
If you decide to disclose information about a mental illnessto one or more co-workers, preparing a vocabulary of language can help maintain your preferred level of privacy while helping co-workers better understand your illness. For example, to disclose your illness without referring to depression or bipolar disorder, you could use specific terms , very general terms or simply refer to mental illness.
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When To Seek Professional Help For Depression After Job Loss
Seeking out help for your depression early on can give you a greater sense of control over your life and enable you to handle your stressors more effectively. Through effective therapy for depression, you may be able to proactively deal with your low mood shortly after it starts, which can ultimately stabilize your emotional well-being as you navigate this stressful time in your life. Its important to get help as soon as possible after noticing symptoms of depression.
If your depression goes unmanaged for weeks or months or perhaps even longer, it can become harder to motivate yourself, cope with your emotions, and deal with other health issues or other challenges that may stem from your depression . Ultimately, if your depression is not treated, it could potentially lead to a mental-health crisis where you feel you are at risk of harming yourself or others, particularly if you are starting to have any thoughts about hurting yourself or another person. In these types of situations, you need to go to your nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1.8
When To Talk To A Therapist About Your Depression
When your depression begins to impact your quality of life, you should consider reaching out to a therapist. However, you need not wait until symptoms get serious. Work depression responds well to multiple therapeutic options including CBT, Interpersonal Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy.
A therapist can help through life transitions and periods of stress, even when you dont know the cause of your condition. You can find a therapist through a variety of online directories, your insurance company, or your human resources office. Choosing the right therapist can be challenging, but finding the right fit for you is an important factor in the healing process.
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Should I Tell My Boss Im Depressed
Dr. Espinola encourages you to consider a range of factors before telling your boss or coworkers about your depression: Every situation is different. If depression symptoms are impairing your ability to do your job, its important that you speak to your doctor to discuss treatment options and prognosis. I have seen many patients who did not have to disclose this information at work because they had mild symptoms and were able to receive the treatment they needed in a way that did not affect their work schedules . Others who were being impacted by work conditions were able to request changes to those conditions without having to disclose they had depression . I have also seen many patients who had to disclose they had a health condition so they could be protected by the ADA and receive accommodations. In those cases, most patients chose to speak to their Human Resources representative as opposed to their boss or coworkers. Most people do not feel comfortable disclosing this information to their boss or coworkers because of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues.
When To Seek Treatment
Knowing when and how to get a depression diagnosis or proper depression treatment isnt easy. There are several ways to tell if your depression at work is affecting you to the point where you might need help. Some signs include:
- You feel like youre struggling to perform efficiently
- Your anxiety is so heightened it begins to affect other areas of your life
- Youre constantly looking for any excuse to quit your job
- You cant stop crying at work, and you never feel better
- Youre having thoughts of suicide or self-harm
If any of the above describes how youre feeling, its time to consider getting help. Help can come in many forms such as therapy for depression or natural treatments for depression such as light therapy for depression. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or a licensed therapist. Mental health professionals are trained and skilled at providing information and effective, simple techniques designed to help you reduce the frequency and severity of your work depression symptoms. Talkspace offers online therapy that matches you with a licensed therapist right from your device.
Above all, remember that youre not alone. Millions of Americans are living with adult or teen depression and trying to work every day. Theres no shame or guilt involved. Reach out and find the support you need, so you can love your job and your life once again.
Reviewed On: April 12, 2022
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Talk To Your Boss Or Hr
Even though so many people say depression interferes with work performance, few disclose it to their employer. Its likely that people dont speak up and ask for help because there is still a stigma around it. Mental health discrimination at work unfortunately discourages open dialogue. People may be worried that they will be viewed as incapable of doing their job and could be let go as a result of asking for help. But depending upon the severity of your symptoms, you may want to make certain people at work aware of your situation.
If you need to take a mental health day here or there, you can use a sick day or paid time off without providing a detailed explanation about your reason.
However, if your condition is starting to interfere with your ability to do your job, consider speaking with your boss . If your conversation with your boss does not yield any results, you can then turn to HR.
For example, if youre working on a particularly difficult project that is causing you to feel anxious or depressed, you might want to let your manager know you need help so that he/she can delegate some of the responsibilities to your co-workers.
You might say, I want to deliver excellent results, but Im feeling overwhelmed. It would be very helpful if I could work on this project with a few more people. Who on our team do you think could be a good fit?
What To Do If Someone Else Is Struggling
Maybe you have spotted one of your colleagues showing some of the symptoms in this article, such as a lack of concentration, low mood, or a sense of overwhelm due to increased workload. If you notice someone in your workplace is struggling, reaching out and offering support is the best way you can help.
If you arent sure how to approach the subject, consider some of these conversation starters that could help you and others to open up about your mental health.
If you work closely with the person, perhaps you can speak with their manager confidentially about sharing some of the workload to ease the pressure. Alternatively, consider reaching out to your HR team to talk about how to broach the subject with your colleague who is struggling, or to seek advice on trying to find them help.
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Ways To Cope With Depression That Work
It’s difficult to cope with depression. I have dealt with depression for most of my life. While at times it seems that we are helpless to combat this mental illness, the truth is that there are things we can do to help us cope with depression. Here, I give my best advice on coping with depression.
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
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Consider Employee Assistance Programs
Employee assistance programs offer mental health-related services to employees for personal or work concerns.
These programs are generally free. Theyre always confidential and offer you access to licensed therapists for a short time who can help you manage various issues, including depression.
Theyre also commonly available.
Over 95% of companies with more than 5,000 employees have EAPs, reports the International Employee Assistance Professional Association, and 80% of companies with 1,001 to 5,000 employees have EAPs.
What Are The Signs Of Work Depression
The signs of depression at work are similar to general depressive symptoms. That said, some may look more specific to a workplace setting.
This depression will affect your level of functioning in your job as well as at home, Parmar said.
Some of the more common signs of work depression include:
- increased anxiety levels, especially when managing stressful situations or thinking about work when youre away from your job
- overall feelings of boredom and complacency about your job
- low energy and lack of motivation to do things, which can sometimes manifest as boredom in tasks
- persistent or prolonged feelings of sadness or low mood.
- loss of interest in tasks at work, especially duties that you previously found interesting and fulfilling
- feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, or overwhelming guilt
- inability to concentrate or pay attention to work tasks and trouble retaining or remembering things, especially new information
- making excessive errors in daily work tasks
- an increase or decrease in weight or appetite
- physical complaints like headaches, fatigue, and upset stomach
- increased absences or coming late and leaving early
- impaired decision-making capacity
- irritability, increased anger, and poor frustration tolerance
- crying spells or tearfulness at work, with or without any apparent triggers
- trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- self-medication with alcohol or substances
According to Parmar, here are some common signs of work depression to be aware of:
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