work depression

How to deal with depression effortlessly

Everyday, adults in the working class spend about 8.5 hours at work. When they have work depression, these hours can seem longer and unbearable.

Depression feels like a trap. It waits for your work hours, and then boom! It knocks.

work depression

So, what do you do? You know it gets harder to work while depressed; you need to find a way. Well, hang on with me for a while, and you will find out.

Being depressed at work happens in different ways and for various reasons.

Some people naturally have depression, and it just seeps into their work hours, while others don’t feel depressed anywhere else until when they get to work.

What is work depression?

Work depression is depression that occurs at work. Though the job may not cause depression, the contributing factors may come from your work environment. It is very common for people who already have depression.

Anyone can be depressed at work, but this depends on the stress or availability of support in the workplace.

work depression

Even the World Health Organization found out that having a hostile working environment can increase a person’s risk of

  • Physical and mental health concerns
  • Lowered productivity
  • Absenteeism
  • Increased use of substance

Also, according to mental health America, depression has crawled its way up to the top three problems in a workplace that employees and professionals encounter.

This problem seems different for everyone. It could be not liking the job, or a deeper issue being bullied, abused, or others.

However, the thing is, depression is different from sadness or stress, but how do you know you are depressed at work and not just stressed or feeling sad?

Signs of work depression

To know whether or not you’re depressed at work, you need to check out the following signs of work depression and see if you have them.

The signs are not different from emotional distress or the general depressive symptoms; it is just that they may be more pronounced when you are at the workplace.

work depression

The most frequent signs of work depression include:

  • Being anxious from just thinking about your work or when you are managing a stressful situation (like meeting up a deadline)
  • Feeling quickly bored  about your job
  • Feeling unmotivated to do anything related to work
  • Being irritable and easily angered or frustrated at work
  • Having physical symptoms of depression like fatigue, headaches, and stomach upset at work
  • Making excessive mistakes while working
  • Not being able to remember things, especially new information
  • Feeling excessively sleepy at work or not being able to find rest during your break
  • Having a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness at work
  • Being careful at work even when everything is okay

These symptoms may not be very conspicuous if you are good at covering them from your co-workers, and they may not realize that you’re depressed. But after a while, they will know.

Onlookers will know that you are depressed because work depression may cause you to

  • Withdraw from people or become isolated
  • Arrive late at work, or even be absent from work or meetings
  • Have decreased performance and productivity, miss deadlines, and have increasing errors.
  • Be detached, forgetful, or lose interest in things that were once fun to you
  • Have some changes in your physical appearance
  • Become very irritable, angry, frustrated, and quickly overwhelmed over minor issues
  • Become very emotional in conversations
  • Have little or no confidence in trying a new task

The symptoms of workplace depression vary in intensity from person to person, depending on the contributing factors and your personality.

Why you could be depressed at work

Though depression can be caused by many factors both from the past and present, the job people do also influences their mental health. carried out a survey which revealed the five industries that were highly affected by depression and the percentage of the staff that were affected. They include

  • Private transits with 16.2%
  • Real estates with 15.7%
  • Social services with 14.6%
  • Manufacturing with 14.3%
  • Personal services with 14.3%
work depression

There are many reasons people become depressed at work, and I could create a long list. But that let’s just look at these few:

  • Being overworked but underpaid
  • Being in a toxic work environment
  • Not having balanced work hours
  • Lack of balance between your work and home life
  • Working In an environment that conflicts with your personal things
  • Working in an environment that exposes you to hazards
  • Being harassed or discriminated at your workplace
  • Feeling like your work has been jeopardized
  • Feeling like you do not have control over any work-related issue
  • Doing odd jobs that cannot further your career goals

What is the difference between work stress and work depression?

Work stress is very common, but it is different from work depression.

When you have work stress, you will mainly experience headaches or muscle tension, occasional feeling of anxiety or irritability. And if it is work stress, it will decrease when the stress is over.

Moreover, having worked depression makes you have intense sadness and feel like you want to cry.

work depression

You will have consistent feelings of anxiety, be unable to focus or concentrate. You may also feel bad about your job.

work depression affects everyone, whether you work at the office or remotely.

Does working from home make you more likely to have work depression?

Let’s accept it; it is very convenient to work from home.

I am a freelance writer, and I spend most hours of my day at home. I must confess, it feels good to lay asleep by 8:00 am on a Monday. However, I have experienced the downsides too.

One of these downsides is that it may be challenging to differentiate between your professional and personal life, and this can have significant changes in your daily routine.

We are encouraged to have a structured routine at home, but as you know, this is very difficult to do.

Also, this lack of routine makes it easy for you to be bored and become depressed. Maybe that’s the reason I kept having recurrent depression.

Also, working in a social environment gives a feeling of connection which is usually lacking when working from home.

When you have to do your daily work remotely, You only communicate with people via phone calls, messages or chat, on video calls.

Instead of this increasing your connection and deepening your relationships, it adds to your screen time. Again, this has its own disadvantages.

How to deal with work depression

work depression

You can easily find relief for depression when it is affecting your work-life. I found the following helpful, and you can do them to secure your work and stay productive

Identify the symptoms

While at work, you realize that you get more depressed at some periods than others. So, you need to find out what triggers those symptoms and where you get more depressed.

For instance, ask yourself, “do I feel more depressed when I’m under pressure to meet a deadline? Or do I just feel like I don’t talk to my colleagues? Which aspect of my job do I have difficulties focusing?”

Finding answers to these questions will enable you set little goals and take actions throughout your day.

For instance, if you have difficulties joining conversations with your colleagues, you can set mini-goals for yourself, like having a five-minute conversation before pulling back. However, you should only do this if you feel like the conversation will help you.

You need to be cautious while setting the goals. Make them realistic because if they are not, you will end up feeling worse.

Monitor the kind of goals you set to see where you get easily overwhelmed or burnt out, and avoid them.

Find the things that make you happy

Depression drains you, and work stress makes it worse, but you can regain the energy by looking for the little things that make you happy. Here, what you should target are the things that are enjoyable to do and can give you a feeling of accomplishment.

It could be something as minute as having your favourite cup of coffee or taking a short walk, or maybe eating with a co-worker.

Since it is a work setting and you may not have all day to do the things that make you happy, you can just segment a little part of your time and dedicate it to that activity.

So, when getting through the less fun stuff, keep your mind that when you are done, you will be free to do what makes you happy.

These little fun moments may be short, but they can renew your energy and make you strong enough to complete the remaining task of the day.

Talk to people that make you feel better

Depression makes us feel like staying away from friends, and most times, we come up with several excuses not to relate, and that is not healthy.

work depression

Isolating yourself due to depression worsens your symptoms and can make it more difficult for you to do your daily activities and get through the day.

I know it is tough to relate, especially with people who don’t understand what is going on in our heads, but the truth is that we need help, and we should reach out to as many people as possible. After all, staying all by ourselves won’t keep ours mind organized either.

So, when having a difficult time at work, talk to a colleague you trust. They may give you some more support.

Besides giving you the support, discussing what you feel and how depressed you are with your co-workers or employer will help you normalize the depression and make it easier to get through work.

But don’t just walk up to any colleague you talk about your mental health. If you speak to the wrong people, they could use it against you.

Before making this kind of statement, know that your workplace is safe to discuss your mental health.

If it is the work environment that is toxic, and you cannot talk to a colleague about what is happening to you, then find a friend outside work to chat with.

Take some breaks

When you are overwhelmed with work or facing a daunting task, forcing yourself to continue the task will deepen the depression.

When you feel like you’re overwhelmed, losing focus or unable to concentrate on the task, know that your brain is asking for a rest. This is the right time to take a break.

You may also notice that you get easily frustrated and irritable. At this point, it is still a warning sign from your brain to take a break.

When taking those breaks, leave your work table to a different environment and move your body there. You can also go to another room to watch fun videos, call your friend, go to your coffee shop to grab a drink, walk around the local park, or just do anything that makes you forget the task at hand.

work depression

Talk to your HR or manager

It can be challenging to do this if you are in a competitive work environment. However, letting your HR or manager know what is going on inside your head can make them modify your routine to something more suitable.

When they know that you are managing depression or living with it, they can give you flexible schedules or deadlines or even have someone to help you with your job when the depression becomes severe.

Also, they can provide accommodation which will help you regain your confidence and self-esteem. They can also include your time for therapy sessions and breaks in your work calendar, making it easier for you to access help.

Just knowing that someone is ready to help you feel better can help soothe the depression. Soon, its impact on your work will be reduced; you will start succeeding again.

Try cognitive behavioral therapy

A study from 2014 shows that cognitive behavioral therapy is very helpful for reducing depression. The study was carried out in a work environment, and the result showed that cognitive behavioral-based health programs where very potent at restoring the mental health of workers.

How to maintain good mental health when working from home

More and more people are getting Into freelancing, and a lot are drifting to working from home. Unknowingly, they’re also opening themselves up for heightened feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

work depression

To stay mentally healthy and free when working from home, you need to do the following

  • Frequently spend some time outside your house taking a walk
  • Have a separate workspace from other parts of your house
  • Declutter your work table
  • Frequently talk to friends that are not related to your work
  • Find the time to stay away from the screen


It can feel insane to be depressed at work, especially when bills are piling up. But you can find relief by applying the ideas shared above.

Have you ever dealt with work depression? Share with us how you handled it in the comment box below.

Medical Disclaimer

The information shared on this website is gathered from researches, peer-reviewed studies and real-life observations. We aim to educate and help you live mentally strong and positive. What we share here may be controversial, but we expect you to use your intuition and judgment. Our information does not replace professional medical advice. In fact, we encourage you to seek professional help when you need it.

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