Combatting Workplace Stress and Depression

When expectations are high at work and at home, and there don’t seem to be any good solutions, stress and depression can take hold. The rest can be a downward spiral that is hard to break out of. If a personal assessment leads you to find yourself in this dark place, here are some possible way to take the first step back.

  • Breathe – As basic as in sounds, deep breaths in and out at regular intervals can help you pause, take a needed moment out and regroup.
  • Exercise – It can be easy to reject exercise as a step forward because of the time it requires – but even a 20-minute walk can help you save 20-minutes later by helping you clear your head, regain energy and reprioritize.
  • Reassess Your List. Write down all the factors that are stressing you out or getting you down.  Just having it on paper may help it seem more manageable. Evaluate what is self-imposed versus what is required from an outside source. Ask honestly what is negotiable. Consider small steps you can take that may make a big difference in your time or energy levels.
  • Balance a Present and Future Focus. Stress can be generated by focusing too much on the present moment without considering the long view. In contrast, stress can also be generated by too much rumination on a future that you cannot control. Systematically balancing staying in the moment with identifying options for the future is key for stress management.
  • Ask for Help – Don’t go it alone. If possible, try to talk with your supervisor and family members about options for getting through this tough time. Reach out to a friend – even one you haven’t seen in a while for a friendly voice. If you can’t talk with people at home or work, consider contacting an Employee Assistance Program, if available, or contacting a mental health professional, like a counselor.

It’s hard to battle stress and depression on your own. Breaking the cycle to change your behaviors and priorities takes courage – this is, though, where resiliency begins.