Working in an office is depressing me: What do I do?

In this article, we will be exploring some of the reasons why working in an office is depressing you. 

We will also look at some things you can do to help yourself deal with the distress and manage your work life in healthy ways.

Working in an office is depressing me: What do I do?

Here are some things you can choose to do, if you feel like working in an office is depressing you.

  • Talk to a professional
  • Self-sooth
  • Set boundaries
  • Improve your working conditions by taking to your supervisor
  • Seek out life experiences outside of work
  • Consider EAPs
  • Consider support groups
  • Take a self-care break
  • Consider letting go

Work Stress related depression 

To be fair, your office itself is not causing the distress. You being an office worker is not what is depressing you rather WHO claims that work or employment is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems.

Studies have found that work-related stress is usually a result of one’s work environment and also one’s predisposition or vulnerabilities to the stress at the workplace. 

In fact, studies have found that severe work stress is a risk factor for suicide, especially when there are individual vulnerabilities and poor social support.

We also need to understand that the professional life and career of an individual does not only affect them but also the people in their lives. Negative stress reactions are not limited to the individual worker, but also may affect the worker’s family, and the community in which they live.

Let us look at some of the possible reasons why you might be feeling depressed while working at your office job.

Reasons why your workplace is depressing you

The causes of work-related emotional distress and possible reasons why you might be experiencing workplace depression include:

  • Misalignment between company values and your own values and beliefs, which make the job a wrong fit for you. For example, a person whose passion lies in the arts working as a banker.
  • You might also be dealing with guilt, of having to work more instead of spending time with your children and helping them grow or you might not be able to strike a work/life balance. 
  • Maybe financial compensation and benefits of your role do not meet your needs and you are working overtime to make ends meet without job satisfaction. 
  • Another reason could be unreasonable demands from management like requests to work overtime, which interferes with home life.
  • Some employees don’t understand what is expected of them because of unclear guidance so they remain uncertain about what they are doing or whether they are doing a good job.
  • Workplace harassment could be one of the reasons why you are distressed. Bullying behaviors and harassment faced in the workplace can be a huge problem that causes immense distress. 
  • Low morale between employees and management which can happen due to lack of transparency and ineffective managers.
  • Your working conditions are problematic especially when management will not take corrective action, for example, not letting employees take enough breaks, or ignoring safety concerns.

Strategies to take on work depression

Whether you work at home, in an office, you can take action to manage your work-related distress and have a better experience in the office. A few things you can do include:

Talk to a professional

The first thing you can do if you are experiencing depression related to your work is to talk to a professional about your distress. It could be talking to a psychologist about your depression symptoms or talking to an occupational therapist to deal with the work related stress. 

It is important to understand what is causing the distress and the depression and get the right treatment for it be it pharmacological treatment, therapy, or stress management lifestyle changes.

Self-soothe

Relaxing regularly at work can have an influential effect on work-related depression. Learn what works for you, what are some activities that can help you sooth your anger and frustration when it comes to your job. 

You’ve probably heard the usual recommendations for yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. These are all good options and definitely worth your time. Try them out and stick to what works for you.

Set boundaries 

It is important that you set boundaries between your work life and your personal life so that there is no spillover of stress from work onto your homelife.

You can do this by setting a schedule that is fixed and firm- by letting your managers know that you are on a strict schedule and to book appointments during that time. 

You can also set boundaries by separating your personal contact info from your work ones or by turning off your tech once you are off the clock or on weekends, remember your job is not the only thing that matters. 

Make it an important issue to maintain professional boundaries between colleagues and to separate personal discourse from professional ones to avoid conflicts that can cause more distress. 

Understand that your personal identity does not necessarily have to gel with your role in the company. The failures and mistakes you make as an employee does not have to be personalized understanding and setting boundaries can help you have a healthier relationship with your job.

Improve your working conditions

Try talking with a supportive supervisor about some changes that can help you do your job better and be happier while doing it. Like your schedule, workload, changing your post, your office space etc.

Seek out life experiences outside of work

With the time you commit to yourself after setting healthy boundaries between you and your work, take time to seek out positive experiences with the people around you that are not your colleagues. 

You can even do things that allow you to engage with the activity like indulging yourself in the weekends with hobbies and activities that add to your well-being. 

This can be especially important if you have symptoms of depression. Schedule get-togethers or activities with your loved ones.

Sign up for a dance class or join a book group. You can even consider running a marathon or becoming a part of a gaming community during your free hours. 

Consider EAPs

If your job and responsibilities are causing you distress you could consider talking to an occupational therapist as part of the company EAP. 

Many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP) which is a program that offers counseling and referrals to employees who have personal or work-related problems. Check out your company well-being policies or seek out resources from HR to book an appointment. 

Consider support groups

Support groups usually meet regularly, either in person or online. To find a group near you, or to start one, check the support group pages and forums online or you can consider checking community centers in your locality or your city. 

In a support group for depression, you can ask questions, share experiences, and get the personal support you need. You may even make some new acquaintances or gain new perspectives about your situation.

Take a self-care break

If your job is not giving you enough down time or the space to take care of yourself, it is time for you to consider stepping up for yourself and taking a well-deserved break.

Talk to your manager about the stress you are under or HR about possibly taking a two week vacation to help you rest and recuperate. Let this mental  health leave be part of your journey in taking care of yourself- take time to meet a therapist or talk to someone who can help you sort out your next steps. 

Your company policies or even the law can protect our rights when it comes to your well-being-being. You can begin by talking to HR or your manager about taking leave. You might be required to get a doctor’s note if you are depressed or if stress is affecting your mental health, so consider making an appointment with a therapist or a doctor. 

Consider letting go

Take time, during your break or while consulting with your therapist, to consider why you have chosen to stay at your job. Your reasons can be anything from  security, money, fears or low self esteem. Be honest with yourself and know that you are in control over the question of staying on or moving forward. 

If you have considered the idea of moving forward, consider talking to HR or the staff occupational therapist who can help you with self problems within the company that is making you distressed.

If the company or your place of work is taking the initiative to help you adjust better or making the changes you have requested, or simply meeting you in the middle, try sticking it out. 

However, if there is robust push back from the company- consider your options elsewhere where you could be happier with the job role, the demands, and the benefits. There is a possibility that you could even get a better package based on your credentials and even better work satisfaction. 

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed some possible reasons why your workplace and job could be causing you emotional distress and possible depression. We have also discussed what you can do to cope and make changes.

References

Psychcentral.com

everydayhealth.com

Frequently asked questions related to “Working in an office is depressing me”

 

Can working in an office make you depressed?

Being an office Worker can’t actually cause depression. Mental health related challenges with respect to work and employment are caused by various issues related to stress, personal vulnerability, workplace harassment, lack of work-personal life balance, and hostile work environment. 

What do you do when your job makes you miserable?

If your job is making you miserable, seek solutions or help with specific problems in the workplace. Consider talking to your manager to find ways you can make things easier or more enjoyable. Or talk to HR about striking a work-personal life balance or even consider taking a break to clear your mind.

If you realize the problem is, in fact, that your role in your workplace does not provide you a sense of meaning and purpose instead it makes you miserable, start planning an exit strategy.

Should I quit my job if it makes me unhappy?

If your job is making you mentally distressed, it could be time for you to consider talking to an occupational therapist who can help you identify the source of your distress and maybe guide you in ways you can turn things around. 

Quitting your job might not be the answer to your distress, it is advisable that you explore all possible reasons why you are unhappy with your current job before considering quitting.

What to do when you feel like your job is killing you?

If your job is adding to your distress and it is physically and mentally causing you harm here are a few things you can do:

  • Consult a therapist or a career counsellor
  • Take a break from work to get yourself mentally and physically in a better place
  • Reach out to sources of support
  • Evaluate what is causing you so much distress in the workplace and whether it can be rectified or changed
  • If there possibility of change, reach out to HR
  • If not, consider seeking other career options

Will quitting my job make me happier?

Quitting your job might make you feel happier for a little while because it takes away a source of stress that might be adding to your unhappiness. 

However, quitting a job will not solve the source of your distress unless the job itself is the reason why you are so unhappy. Goal pursuit and purpose is a major factor that contributes to happiness and over-all being.

Consider taking a break from work for a while and pursuing other things that give you meaning and a sense of satisfaction before thinking about setting your papers down.

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