Most people in today’s economy are happy to have a job. Apart from contributing to career development, giving direction to your passion, your job largely helps you take care of your personal goals. But there can sometimes be a phase where you may not feel satisfied with your work, where you may feel more and more rushed every passing day, and find it difficult to keep work-personal life balance. Work-related factors like long hours, work overload, not a good rapport with the boss and lack of control over daily tasks can contribute to stress in life. And that stress may have direct effects on your mood causing irritability, disrupting sleep and getting in the way of concentration. However, if the stress level continues to increase, it may also lead to anxiety and depression which aren’t very healthy things to live with.
Harmful effects of work stress leading to depression
Stress disrupts your healthy coping strategies: When you experience stress, you often skip some of the healthy coping strategies that help keeping your mood on track. For instance, when there’s stress at work, you tend to overwork, you spend most of the time at your work desk. And that’s how you skip activities like exercising, sleeping on time, abandoning routines of eating, catching up with friends or family. All this adds to more stress and anxiety.
Low mood generate stress: When you are stressed and experience initial changes in mood, these symptoms often generate further increased stress. For example, if you are stressed, you may have an irritable outburst at work and get a complaint. Impaired concentration also results in making mistakes – either major like goofing up during presentation or just small mistakes like leaving something important at home and then driving home to get it.
Low in personal life: Overworking, irritability and withdrawal from personal life can cause increased arguments. Someone who is absorbed by their own stress may become less emotionally available to their partner or family member. Especially if an individual has dealt with depression in the past, it can be frightening for partners or for parents to see signs that make them concerned that their loved one could be becoming depressed again. All this invites more stress in personal life too.
Tips to Prevent Stress & Depression
- One of the key skills to managing work stress is starting to say no. You should constantly challenge clients who say there’s no choice but to overwork. Saying yes to overwork all the time can win you brownie points in the short term, but if you take on too much and fail to deliver, it can be a disastrous long-term strategy.
- Identify early warning signs that are a signal that you need to make some changes – such as noticing yourself getting irritable at work, or making repeated mistakes due to lack of concentration. In that case, bring about changes in your routine. May be start early and finish off before evening. So that post the day at office, you can relax with friends or family.
- When you are continuously stressed or overworking, beware of what healthy coping strategies are important for maintaining your mood. Don’t skip meals or sleep. Exercise to keep your mind and body healthy. And once your big project is over, make sure to pamper yourself with a short break.
- Identify barriers to being able to implement your ideas when you’re under stress. What could you do to overcome those barriers? e.g. If you are too overloaded, ask for a helping hand who can share the work load.
- Having a therapist you can touch base with when your mood starts to go downhill can also help. You can also do that at the comfort of your home. Book an online session with Cafe Counsel and get great tips on how to manage stress.