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You are not alone if you tend to feel depressed at work. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, boredom, loss of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and bouts of crying, are just a few symptoms of work depression. 

Depression impacts 4.5 million people in South Africa. Since full-time employees spend an average of 8.5 hours per day working, many will experience depression at work. 

What Is Work Depression?

Productive work is good for your mental health, and while your job may not cause your depression, a working environment that is negative can lead to potential problems for the company and its employees. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that a negative working environment can cause: 

  • physical and mental health concerns
  • absenteeism
  • lost productivity
  • increased substance use

The Symptoms Of Work Depression

Some of the more common symptoms of work depression to look out for: 

  • Increased anxiety, especially in stressful situations.
  • Thinking about your work even when you’re away from your job.
  • Feelings of boredom about your job.
  • Low energy levels and lack of motivation. 
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or low mood.
  • Loss of interest in work tasks, especially those you found exciting.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness or guilt.
  • Inability to pay attention or concentrate and trouble to remember things.
  • Making more errors than usual in daily tasks.
  • A change in weight or appetite.
  • Physical complaints like an upset stomach, headaches, and fatigue. 
  • More absence from work, or arriving late and leaving early.
  • Having trouble with decision-making.
  • Irritability, frustration and increased anger.
  • Crying spells or tearfulness at work.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Poor self-hygiene or significant change in appearance.
  • Self-medication with alcohol or other substances.

Why You May Have Work Depression

The following work situations may contribute to your depression:

  • working in a toxic environment
  • feeling like you have no control over work issues 
  • feeling like your job is in danger 
  • experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination 
  • being overworked or underpaid
  • no balance between work and home
  • working irregular hours
  • doing work that doesn’t advance your career goals
  • a work setting that doesn’t match your personal values
  • experiencing poor or unsafe working conditions 

What To Do If You Feel Depressed At Work?

Managing symptoms of depression at work can be challenging. You can try these quick mental health breaks to reduce your stress during the day. 

Read: How To Take Quick Mental Health Breaks 

Getting Help For Work Depression

Experiencing depression while at work can be draining and overwhelming. Recognising the signs of depression is the first step to getting help. 

Remember, you are not alone. If you’re concerned about work depression, contact a mental health professional or call Life Path Health’s 24/7-Helpline at 072-7900-506.

If your company has an employee wellness programme, you could talk to your supervisor or human resources department.


Read more:

How To Deal With Anxiety In The Workplace

The Difference Between Sadness And Depression

The Lies Your Depression Tells You 

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