Being depressed at work can be a difficult thing to manage.
The additional stressors in your workday can make your symptoms worse and trying to ‘tough it out’ is never a good idea.
Good mental health much like physical health requires consistent work.
There are no quick fixes, but these suggestions below can go a long way to making you more mentally fit and better able to manage your depression at work.
Talk about your feelings
Opening up and being honest about your struggles is normally the first step to better mental health.
Whether it’s family, friends or a trusted colleague, by having these conversations you may be surprised just how common these feelings are.
Knowing you are not alone in what you are going through can be very helpful.
If you don’t feel comfortable having this discussion with a friend, you could also use an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if your company has one.
An EAP is a service typically paid for by your employer that you can use anonymously, to talk through your problems with a trained counsellor.
People in employment services at MAX can access an allied health professional to support them in managing depression.
These health professionals can then suggest some helpful strategies for your situation and recommend where to go for further assistance with your depression.
Seek and maintain professional help
While the internet is full of useful information that you can use to better yourself, medical diagnosis is best left to the professionals.
Reaching out to a trained mental health practitioner will cut out the anxiety of trying to self-diagnose yourself and figuring out what tools and strategies work.
It could be having an initial discussion with your GP to create a mental health plan or a chat with a counsellor through your EAP.
However, if your depression is significantly impacting your daily life, it may be worth speaking to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Change your thinking or self-talk
One of the common tools that mental health professionals will recommend is changing the way we think and speak about ourselves.
The first step is about identifying when we are being unkind to ourselves whether in our thoughts or by the way we are speaking about our actions or capabilities.
Being aware of negative thoughts and noticing patterns helps you take a more objective stance or think about things from an alternative perspective.
In turn that can help lessen the impact of those thoughts and even turn them to become more helpful or positive.
For example, you may be doing a new task at work and not finding much success.
You may think “I am bad at this task; my boss will think I’m useless at my job”
By taking a step back to think of what you are good at in your job you reframe your mindset into a more positive one.
By accepting you are perhaps learning a new skill, and that this takes time, you can change your criticism in to one that better reflects the reality of the situation.
The experience of learning a new skill, which can be frustrating, will in turn lead to you becoming a more skilled and more valuable employee.