The current pandemic is affecting many in numerous
ways. We may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating on enjoyable activities,
and have reduced or increased appetite.
We may feel sad, have depressed mood. Depression is a
mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest
and can interfere with daily functioning.
Experts report that depression is more common than
coronary artery disease, cancer or AIDS. It causes greater day-to-day
impairment in quality of life than diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis or
Depression costs industrialized countries several
billion each year in treatments, absenteeism, and lost productivity and wages. Depressive
illnesses are becoming a leading cause of disease in developed countries.
Many factors contribute to depression including
genetics, poor diet and sleep habits, and food sensitivity. Illnesses and their
treatments, drug interactions, improper metabolism and social isolation are
A family history of depression suggests biological
vulnerability. Psychological makeup plays a role. Pessimistic, dependent people
with low confidence who are easily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression.
A major loss (death of a loved one, job termination) and work stress are also
linked to depression.
Symptoms of Depression
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) lists the following criteria for major depression. At least five must be present every day during the same two-week period. Do any of these apply to you?
— Depressed mood most of the day.
— Diminished interest or pleasure in most
— Reduced or increased appetite.
— Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
— Extreme restlessness or lethargy.
— Fatigue or loss of energy.
— Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness or
— Diminished ability to think, concentrate or make
— Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
— Irritability or excessive crying.
Although five of
the foregoing suggest severe depression, take action if you checked any
Tips for managing depression
Seek professional assistance.
Getting help is not a sign of
weakness. Mental and medical health specialists, who practice in community
health centers, hospitals, company EAP programs and private offices, offer
evaluation and treatment.
Get a thorough medical examination to rule out
health causes. If you have severe or chronic depression caused by a chemical
imbalance, medications will be prescribed to alter brain chemical action and
improve mood, sleep, appetite, energy level and concentration.
Talking with a trained counselor or psychologist can
be effective in treating less severe or non chronic depression. Therapy can be
helpful alone or used in combination with medication.
Sometimes, it is helpful to discuss certain work
problems with a supervisor or co-workers. Focus on improving the situations,
not personalities, and end talks on a positive note.
and change negative thoughts and behaviors. Negative thoughts are often unrealistic,
and tend to have a generalized, exaggerated, spiraling quality.
You are what you think.You can choose to
dwell on and enlarge mistakes or hurtful feelings which will contribute to
depression. Or, you can stop negative thoughts and replace these with more
positive, constructive ones.
If your supervisor suggests changing some part of a
report, you can think, “I made another mistake. I’m useless . . .”
Or, you can monitor negative thoughts, note whether you made similar mistakes
before, and replace the irrational, negative belief with a more positive
statement. “I haven’t made this mistake before. . . Now I really know how to improve my reports .
Focus on opportunities, constructive ways of
dealing with challenges. Practice positive self-talk. Emotionally believe you can control situations. Listen to motivational quotes during your commute.
Don’t take customer complaints personally.You’re
usually the outlet for their anger and frustration with the company policies,
services or products.
confidence. Prepare a list of accomplishments and
positive personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.
Build on accomplishments. Each day, enhance some previous performance.
Think and talk about things you want.Review fortunate experiences in a journal. Note the role belief
and hard work played in achieving successes as well as strategies used.
Participate in activities that give pleasure and a
sense of accomplishment. Plan enjoyable activities daily. Watch a movie, get a
massage, take a class on a topic of interest, join a hiking group.
meaningful relationships. Associate with positive, supportive people who believe in your
abilities. Help others as
well as yourself by volunteering for a cause in which you believe.
Join a support group. You may be surprised to learn
an evening with a group of depressed people can be enjoyable. Support groups
provide a forum for mutual acceptance, understanding and self-discovery.
health. Keep a journal
to chart eating and sleeping habits, and enjoyable and stressful activities.
Identify factors that may be contributing to depression, and replace these with
more positive ones.
Minimize stress by exercising, meditating, engaging
in hobbies, and creating a relaxing morning routine. Don’t take work problems
– Set realistic,
attainable goals. Break large tasks into small, achievable ones. Set
life decisions, such as changing jobs or getting married. Wait until depression
Questers Dare to
Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole
Kanchier, offers numerous tips for strengthening healthy personal qualities and
moving forward in your life career. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist, speaker, coach and author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning, and consulted with varied organizations. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; www.questersdaretochange.com