Maybe it’s not just the blues or deadline burnout. Don’t cringe, but what you are going through might be clinical depression. Surprisingly, it strikes more often than one would tend to think. Here are some tips to deal with workplace depression when it comes knocking at your door or help a colleague who is coping with it.
Start by recognizing the signs!
“What’s the use of it all anyway?” seems to be your motto lately. You’re absent more often than not and when you’re at the office you can’t seem to dive into the stack of task piling up on your desk. Cooperating or even interacting with your colleagues needs a huge amount of energy that you just cannot master right now. Visiting the restroom for a round of crying session has become part of your routine and you are light years away from the proactive decision maker you used to be. Something to do with the unjustified fatigue and excessive sleepiness you’ve been feeling lately or the persistent pain and aches that refuse to heal no matter what treatment you try.
If this rings a bell, do not run away from this article, or from your desk as a matter of fact. Remember, these symptoms do not define a person; they’re just related to a phase that one is going through. However, depression is a real illness and it’s therefore difficult for people who suffer from it to control and beat these symptoms without any help. Telling a colleague –or yourself- to “snap out of it” or that “it’s not that big of a deal” might actually lead to the persistence of symptoms and worsen the situation by adding to their low self-esteem and feeling of hopelessness as well as hindering their motivation rather than making things better.
Here are some practical tips that can help overcome depression:
- Organizing your daily routine in a more structured way
- Identifying triggers in the workplace In order to manage them
- Personalizing your workspace with plants and objects that make you feel better
- Bonding with colleagues who have positive attitude
Communication is a key aspect of moving forward in such cases. Therefore, it is highly recommended to communicate your situation to your superiors and ask for their help in order to achieve tasks. They, as well as colleagues, are expected to be supportive and non-judgmental and to respect confidentiality.
Try to set a schedule emphasizing on short-term objectives and smaller realistic expectations, at least for a moment. This will help you –or your employee- realize that you can still reach the objectives and motivate you back into work. You can then set more complex objectives as you go. If the objectives set are unrealistic given the depressed mood, it would be as if you are has set up yourself –or them- to fail.
Employees often fear to admit they are depressed and tend to hide the symptoms in order not to lose their jobs. But this is in no way a good strategy: it will end up ruining your health and affecting your productivity all the more.
Don’t ignore depression symptoms. If they persist, it might be time to seek professional help.