5 Tiny Signs Your Job Is Causing Your Depression

Photo: Brock Wegner | Unsplash
Woman working staring at her phone distracted

If you're struggling to get out of bed in the morning to go to work or find the idea of returning day after day is causing you severe stress or anxiety, then your job itself might be causing depression. You may not realize the signs of depression at first, but job-related mental health is a real issue and requires you to ask yourself, "Am I depressed?" and learn how to deal with depression and get the help you need.

Do you dread the idea of interacting with your co-workers? Is concentrating on your work increasingly difficult? Does the thought of going back to work one more time upset you? Do you feel agitated or distracted by the simplest task and struggle to meet deadlines or get projects done at all? If you answered yes to any of these questions, or the ideas seem familiar, feeling depressed at work could be a thing, and it can affect your health and happiness.

How do you figure out if you are feeling depressed at work or if it’s something else? If it is about work, what part of work is it about, or is it just the whole thing?

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Here are 5 tiny signs your job is causing your depression:

1. Is there anything outside of work that might be causing depression?

The first thing to ask yourself is what's going on in your life outside of work. Has something big happened in your life? A relationship break-up? The death of someone you were close to? Some financial shift? Anything that might cause you to be overly stressed out? When you get depressed about one thing, your depression can spread to other areas of your life. A tornado starts small but captures everything in its path and becomes increasingly damaging. So, there may be something else going on in your life to make you depressed, but depression shows up most during those long working hours because they might be stressful or boring.

2. Am I depressed when I'm not at work?

A big question to figure out whether you feel depressed at work is really about the work to ask yourself if you're feeling depressed outside of work. Do you wake up on a Saturday morning feeling like you can take on the world? Are your Sunday mornings full of fun, good food, and time with friends? Do the feelings carry over to Sunday night and Monday morning when you're filled with hopelessness and dread at the idea of going back to work? If you are feeling depressed at work but feel otherwise fine about your life, then work may be, in fact, the source of your depression and something to take a good hard look at.

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3. Do I get along with my co-workers?

Okay, so you've figured out feeling depressed at work is about work and not about the big picture of your life. How do you figure out what it is about work so you can fix it? A big part, for some people, of feeling depressed at work is they don’t get along with their co-workers, or even one co-worker in particular.

I know someone who loved her job and the people she worked with, but her boss was not a nice guy. He would torment her regularly, and she felt constantly in fear of losing her job. This conflict made her depressed about her job and everything else in her life.

Despite the insecurity she felt about her ability to do her job — insecurity created by her boss being so hard on her — she took the initiative to find a new job. She found a job similar to the one she had, but with a boss who was kind and supportive. Her depression disappeared. You spend a lot of time at work every week and a lot of time with your co-workers. If there are issues with some or all of your co-workers, then it’s important you either try to work things out or get a new job.

Think about what you can do to change your relationships with co-workers if necessary. It could help you manage your depression at work.



4. Do I like what I'm doing?

Another part of feeling depressed at work is you might not like what you are doing. I remember when I was working the front desk at a hotel. I loved my job when it was busy but hated it when the times were slow. I had to stand behind the desk and smile at people walking by, but in general, I was bored, and it got in my head. As a result, I started feeling depressed about my job.

I loved my job though and didn’t want to leave it, so I set out to figure out what I could do to make my job less depressing during downtime. I asked around and learned I could help the concierge group manage local information brochures. I would figure out what we needed, copy them, and fold them. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it was far better than just sitting there.

Once I found a task to do, I was able to be happier at my job. So, do you like your job? Does the prospect of doing what you are doing now for the next few weeks or months fill you with dread or joy? If you don’t love what you're doing, see if you can change it either by tweaking where you are working now or finding something new!

she is happy to be at work today

Photo via Getty

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5. Does the idea of a new job improve my mood?

OK, pause a minute and think about what it would feel like if you had a new job. If, when you woke up in the morning, you liked where you were going to spend the next eight hours. If your co-workers were good, and your commute was doable. How would it feel? Does the thought give you a feeling of elation or hopelessness?

If it’s the first, your job could be making you depressed, and a job change could change everything. If it’s the second, I'm guessing you're depressed outside your job, and a job change won’t make a difference. Feeling depressed at work is hard to deal with because work takes up so much of your life. There are some ways to tell if you're depressed because of work or if it’s something else. These questions should help clarify for you.



If, after answering these questions, you see you are not depressed because of work, then you must see your primary care doctor as soon as possible to see about treatment for your depression. Depression will get worse the longer it goes untreated, so do it now! If the answers to your questions indicate work is making you depressed, make an effort to change it, either by adjusting your job where you work now or seeking a new one. Life is too short to spend it being depressed. Make a change now so you can be happy,

RELATED: 5 Red Flags You Need To Do Something About Your Depression ASAP

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.