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We live in an era when many of us do what previous generations couldn’t: work from home.
Thanks to the internet, many of us can do our day jobs remotely, also called telework. But can that become too much for us to handle? Is depression a risk for remote employees?
Let’s take a closer look at the answers to these questions, as well as what you can do to maintain your mental health.
Being sad is a normal part of life. It may come as a result of environmental factors.
If you’ve experienced a big change in your life, such as the end of a relationship, it’s reasonable for you to feel sadness. While sadness may eventually evolve into depression, it’s important to understand that depression is a clinical mental health condition.
Episodes of major depression last at least 2 weeks at a time. Although a sad environmental factor can trigger them, they can also seemingly come out of nowhere.
If your mood starts to interfere with your everyday life, you may be developing depression. A mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and explain the treatment options.
As for whether working remotely is a direct cause of depression in employees, the results are mixed.
It can add stress for some people
A 2017 report by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions found that 41% of remote employees reported high levels of stress, while just 25% of employees who worked in an office did.
Psychological stress can affect depression. But there’s little evidence directly linking remote work to depression.
For other people, it may reduce stress
In fact, some research indicates that people specifically look for jobs with the flexibility to work from home to reduce stress.
Commuting to and from work
Time saved by not commuting can lead to increased flexibility in working hours, which can further reduce stress for a range of people, including working parents.
First, acknowledge that it’s hard. Working from home can be hard. It has unique challenges and benefits.
1. Connect with friends
Connecting with friends and family can help you feel more connected with others. Connection can happen over the phone, through texts, or in person, depending on what works for your lifestyle. The important thing is maintaining those connections.
2. Write down your goals
Depression can get in the way of your productivity, especially if you’re working from home. Having a list of measurable goals in front of you may help you visualize what you want to achieve.
3. Create a daily schedule
It can be easy to lose track of time when you’re not in an office. Creating a schedule for the day not only helps you get your tasks done but also pencils in opportunities to take breaks to maintain your mental health.
4. Make time to meditate
Meditation can give you a sense of balance and calm, which may provide you with inner peace and help improve overall feelings of well-being.
Even if you can afford to meditate for only a few minutes, consider the potential benefits when you’re working from home. Try a guided meditation as short as 3 or 5 minutes.
5. Go for a walk
Going for a walk benefits both your mental and your physical health.
Regular brisk walking can help improve your mood, so it may be worth fitting it into your day if you regularly work from home.
Take 10 minutes or more to walk, dance, or try out some workout moves at home.
There’s an abundance of resources available for people who feel they may be experiencing depression or simply want to seek out more information for their mental health and personal well-being.
If you’re looking for a way to bolster yourself and your work-from-home routine, meditation apps can provide guided time for you to reset or create new habits.
Headspace is a popular meditation app. It offers relatively short segments in a free library for sleep and basic meditation.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the United States offers free, accurate, and up-to-date information on mental health care. They also offer resource referrals.
To connect with NAMI, call them at 800-950-6264 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a host of resources on their website, along with factual information on everything from depression symptoms to getting screened for mental illness. Their website is available in multiple languages.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis or immediate danger, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room for assistance.
The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is also available 24/7 at 988.
About 1 in 15 adults experience depression in any given year, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Depression is a common yet serious mental health condition that has a negative impact on how you feel, think, and act.
People with depression may feel sadness and a lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Ultimately, this may affect their ability to function. The APA estimates that 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some point in their lives.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:
- loss of energy
- depressed mood
- trouble sleeping or oversleeping
- changes in appetite
A diagnosis often comes after symptoms have persisted for at least 2 weeks.
How to cope
The possible treatments for depression include several types of therapy and medication. Depression affects each person differently.
If you have depression, you’ll likely find that a combination of treatments works rather than just one. A mental health professional can help you find what works best for you.
Having the option to work from home is something many people enjoy, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t for everyone.
In time, you may find that you function better when surrounded by your colleagues in a social environment. It’s up to you to determine what works best for your mental health.
Keep in mind that there’s little or no information directly linking remote work to the development of depression.
A medical professional can help you figure out whether you’re experiencing sadness or depression and get you the care you need. Remember, getting support is worth it: Many people with depression who receive treatment go on living healthy lives.