How to get things done professionaly at work when I'm very depressed?
Last Updated: 03/26/2021 at 9:34am
Graham Barrone, Adip ICHP, MCBT
If you've found that your quality of life has reduced because of anxiety, fear or some kind of mental hurdle that you just can't get over then lets chat.
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For me, one of the first things that goes when I am depressed is the ability to focus. Focus is a skill that can be practiced. Our brains have a finite limit of processing power. We can only focus on a very limited number of things at a time and use only a limited number of skills. One of the benefits of fully focusing on your tasks is that when you are fully adsorbed in a task the brain no longer has the resources to maintain the parts of your memory and personality that focus on the negative thoughts and feelings you are having. The positive psychology term for this is FLOW. The more often we are able to be absorbed in a worthwhile task, the more often the clock moves without us realizing it the happier we are overall. The happiest people on the planet experience flow almost daily. I can always tell when myself care is working because I will be working and look up and two hours have pasted. I feel contentment rather than happiness I suppose but it is longer lasting that simple enjoyment. Take a look at the documentary titled, "Happy." It is a wonderful look at what makes for lasting happiness across the world. I wish you peace. ~J
It may sound a bit different, but I think this is worth a thought. Certain theme parks call their employees cast. If you think of your work self as a cast member, then you can try to think of work as a character. I tell myself, I am in work character mode, and I will deal with my personal issues at home. While I am on shift, I will do my best not to break character. A busy job can be a blessing because it accomplishes something, and it can be distracting.
You can't work efficiently if you're not feeling 100% and every employer should realise this. You are entitled to have time off work to try to get back to a more stable version of yourself or see a doctor about your depression. It may be time to take a break for your own sake.
How about getting work done professionally at work when I'm really stressed? I need to take a quick dip, or take a break from hot tea and massage my own neck and back, I need to rest (at least half an hour) to relieve stress. And usually I talk openly to my co-workers and superiors, so they can understand, so I don't get sick either. So that when the break can take place with high quality, I feel my depression has reduced, usually I can immediately find a good atmosphere and mood for myself to focus and work professionally. I am used to writing a detailed plan for each of my work, so that even when I feel depressed or lack focus, I will immediately be on the track towards achieving work performance.
I understand what you are going through. I have been there myself. I would say you should just push yourself and think that "I will think about all that emotional stuff later. This is not the right time or place." So acknowledge the things that bother you don't block them or pretend but just put it to the side to to deal with it later. Also, I think you should do things that will help you in your free time or when you are not working. Go to the mall, watch a funny movie, hang out with people who matter, go on a walk, treat yourself, work out, go to the beach, paint, draw, jog, join a club, go on a camping trip, go on a holiday... the options are endless. The key is to do that things that you genuinely enjoy. So basically try to stick with you "happy and positive" routine. With time you will start to feel better. :) Hang in there. I have been there and I know from experience that things will get better. You can't possibly feel upset forever ;) Hope my answer helped and all the best.
That's a tough one. For me, what I had to do was use my time outside work to make sure I did tonnes of self care stuff, why I did was exercise for an hour three times a day, drank nutrient packed smoothes,( I found eating to be difficult), and did mindful breath awareness exercises and tried to sleep, my days were consumed with it, and I lost friends, and had no fun., I was trying to stay well and alive, but what was the point with no friends or reason to enjoy this place. So I took time off work, got my meds straighten out a bit and now can exercise less and get away with it. Only three times a week. It took me 6 months in and out of the Hosp, but glad that I can manger a better life. Has to get a new job, though. That was unfortunate. We la vie! Hope there is something in that we that you can use in your life
In order to get things done professionally at work when I'm very depressed I self soothe before I begin anything. Meaning that I take time to do comforting things like listen to music, drink coffee, mindfulness walks, and coloring, so I'm at enough ease to do professional work.
The saying "fake it 'til you make it" sometimes actually works, if you pretend to be happy and professional and kind, etc., those feelings will actually set in and become easier to handle when at work.
When you're feeling depressed, it's understandable that you won't be motivated to do every task, unlike how if you were feeling fine. So, please have a to-do list in mind, that has the essential and important tasks only. It is important for you to focus on them, and not on the negative thoughts during that moment. Think about what you're going to do next, after the first task. That way, you can distract your mind from the depressive thoughts, and you'll feel better for finishing some work as well.
During the worst part of my depression, I remember being at work and unable to do the job. I remember sitting there with heavy breathing and hoping that the pain would subside. I say that so that you understand that I've been what you are going through. The best way to continue to work *initially* is to find a coping strategy, and honestly I would recommend multiple simultaneous coping strategies. Positive Affirmations (youtube), Meditation, calling friends / family, taking a walk, depression medication, music, etc. Try multiple things and figure out what allows you to get back to equilibrium. After you and/or a professional counselor has helped you find your specific strategy (mine was positive affirmations), use that to initially cope with the terrible feelings. Afterwards, I strongly recommend working towards a thriving phase. Staying in a coping phase is like walking on a tightrope, it's easy to fall back at any moment. But when you push towards a thriving phase its similar to a tightrope with a massive safety net underneath you. What's thriving? It's different for everyone but essentially its pursuing something that makes you feel like you are achieving part of your purpose in life. Working on my social skills, working on being a better and emotionally stronger man, working on helping others through youtube and platforms such as this are examples of pushing for a thriving mindset. Once you find yours and push towards it, you will be able to work without the terrible mental pain and issues that you may be currently experiencing.
You can try to focus on your job without thinking about your depression. I personally used to do this at school and it helped me a lot 'cause I was distracting myself from bad feelings.
It can be scary to recognize your depression and realize that it might affect your work. For me, the biggest thing was to have compassion for myself - if something didn't get done as well as I would have liked, I try to let go of any guilt around that by reminding myself that if anyone else were in a similar situation, I would not think any less of them or their work.
Focus on whatever amount of time you feel you can. For example, if you feel you can handle the next 5 minutes working on your project, take it 5 minutes at a time.
People may say that you never bring your personal life into work. Well, in a way, it's true, but at the same time, you don't necessarily have to live up to that. Emotions are normal; we're all human after all. Sometimes, all we need is to take a deep breath, and figure out what exactly is bringing us down. Keep reminding yourself that you are worth it, that you can do it, that you are enough, and that all things are passing. The hardest thing to do is accepting what there is now, but that does not mean we forget what that is. Know that nothing is forever, and keep in mind that bringing yourself down won't get you anywhere, so as hard as it may be, never forget that you are enough, and that you can do it.
Depression can feel like a cloud over our head, and it can be tough. Especially when it is sunny outside, and everyone else is enjoying the sunlight. It may seem like you are the only one under dark skies, but you are not alone! Many of us keep pushing through, just like you! I would suggest adding small rewards to your everyday life. If you get through today, then you get (insert reward). You can decide based on how hard that day is, how big your reward for getting through it will be! So, if you are having a really tough day, that just means you will get a really great reward if you get through it! Sometimes the reward might not help anyway, and that is okay. Reward yourself for trying. You deserve it!
Imagine yourself being a robot. Have a routine in place, so even when you are depressed and don't feel like doing anything, you follow the routine. Another thing to keep in mind is to break down a big task into smaller ones. That way you get the sense of accomplishment more often.
Divide tasks accordingly and set a priority level for each task. Do it one by one and by completing the first task, the level of depression might be lesser than expected.
Take a deep breathe close your eyes, clear your mind. Picture yourself where you had a happy time in your life. Tell yourself your strong, capable, intelligent and that you can do this.
When I am at work, I take a few minutes to take a deep breath, meditate and pray and then get back to work. If I was severely depressed, I would do that and take my medications that my doctor prescribe.
Work through individual tasks and see them as set goals to achieve. Try to keep thoughts set on the task at hand. It's useful to focus on jobs that need to be done, when you feel depressed. Use a tick list to help you realise what you have achieved! you should feel a sense of management and a way of focusing while at work. Keep in mind that you will get some time during the day to switch off and allow some time for your thoughts or simply rest.
It is very beneficial to take day off for your mental health if you are struggling greatly. Mental illness is no different than any common contagions in that they make it difficult to perform your usual activities.
The most specific advice I could give here is to exercise. If you find your thoughts wandering off to dark corners, take a 5 minute time-out from your work. Go outside, get some fresh air, change of scenery, and do a little bit of running or body training. Once you come back in you might have shifted your focus, and return to your work with better concentration.
The "half-smile." Smile only with your mouth (as opposed to a genuine smile which includes the use of your cheeks, eyebrows, and forehead). This will in a way trick your mind into thinking you're happy, and then the half-smile turns into a real one. Also, academic research has found that good posture promotes happiness during depressive episodes.
Wow, this can be tough. I think the important thing, when one is "very depressed," is to reach out and get as much help as possible. I recommend working with a pro (therapist or physician) and talking often with listeners at 7 Cups (of course!) and reaching out to reliable, supportive friends and family. At work, too, it's good to reach out for help--and see if others can help with projects or deadlines. When possible, it might be good to take time off or try for a lighter schedule. (However, it can be tricky to disclose mental-health conditions to certain employers, whereas others are wonderful about it and have Employee Assistance Plans to help employees get through tough times. Some states and countries have laws that provide protection, and some do not.) As for tips for getting through the day, I could say things like, Try to get some sleep and eat healthy food and definitely get some exercise to keep the fog at bay -- but when a person is very depressed, this can feel terribly hard to do! So, when depression gets very bad, I think it's time to consider seeing a physician and using appropriate sleep aides and other therapies and medicines that can give relief. And ... yes, depression can make it awfully hard to reach out for help, but it's crucial! Please don't try to "tough it out" alone. There are people like the listeners at 7 Cups who are waiting to help.
I understand how hard it can be to stay productive while fighting depression. This could be a good question to ask your counselor, if you have one. Personally, I feel that it can be very helpful to do something, such as listening to music or watching a short video, in order to completely distract yourself from your sadness. Next, just start working and try to keep your mind away from your depression for as long as possible. You could set a timer and tell yourself that you'll just work as hard as you can for 10 minutes. Normally for me, I continue to work productively even after the timer goes off. If your depression is seriously affecting your working abilities, it might be a good idea to seek professional treatment. Recovery is worth it!:)
It is hard to get things done sometimes when you're very depressed. Set yourself reminders and small goals. For example if you've got something due at the end of the week, try to set reminders to work on it. Try to work on it for maybe 15 or 20 minutes at a time so you don't overwhelm yourself and take breaks. If you've dealt with depression before, try to find what has worked for you in the past and see if that has worked. It's also never a bad thing to speak to a Doctor about depression.
You have to adopt a specific mindset. I know that this sounds even worse for a person with no depression as it will take a lot of motivation to change this, but this has served me well for years and trough promotions. Focus on your work as much as you can, and focus and repeat in your head that you are there to do your best. You live one life, so while you live it, try to get the best results that you can. And it's important not to nitpick about a job. Try to see the positive aspects it brings you. You'll feel more motivated to achieve better results. When it comes to communication it depends a lot on what area you work in. Call centers could be a nightmare as you would need to adapt a different persona. This will tire you even more in time. It applies to face to face jobs even more, as it requires more effort to display a proper body language. For an office job, when you're in meetings tend to keep a mentality of: "What I am about to say, can it benefit the company or the team?".
I know that working and getting a lot done can be tiring and overwhelming. When you are at work try to remember to not be too harsh on yourself and to practice deep breathing exercises when things start to get tough. If you feel like you are running out of energy, try drinking water or a nice green tea. Stay hydrated and have healthy snacks as a boost of energy when possible. There are also other helpful things such as listening to music if you are able to, doing light exercise during breaks, and making sure you take self-care time after work. If you have time for yourself to relax and enjoy yourself such as a hobby or even a bath after work, you may find it easier to get through the day.
Little tasks each day and rewards for completion. Cycles come and go, but if its a permanent situation that does not improve, I look for a better place to work
My work is socially interactive so it is very easy to forget about "self" once I arrive and get into the things I have to do. Working with children allows no room for "depression."
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