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Work stress is a much bigger issue than many people may realize. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “More than 80% of US workers have reported experiencing workplace stress, and more than 50% believe their stress related to work impacts their life at home.” This statistic explains why addressing healthy ways to manage work stress, workplace anxiety, and depression is not only important but also necessary.

Understanding Work Stress, Workplace Anxiety, and Depression

It is estimated that many people will spend over one-third of their lives in the workforce. So, when an individual is struggling with issues of stress, anxiety, and/or depression at work, it affects a significant portion of their lives. Also, it is important to note that work stress does not merely stay at work. Work stress almost always affects other aspects of an individual’s life, especially their home lives.

According to a study reported in the journal, Psychological Medicine, “Rates of depression have been rising, as have rates of work stress… Work stress appears to precipitate diagnosable depression and anxiety in previously healthy young workers.” Additionally, “Helping workers cope with work stress or reducing work stress levels could prevent the occurrence of clinically significant depression and anxiety.” However, before that “coping” can take place, one must first recognize either their own workplace anxiety and depression or that of a coworker.

How to Recognize Stress, Anxiety, and Depression at Work

Recognizing stress, anxiety, and depression at work is not much different than recognizing them outside of work. However, there are a few signs and symptoms that primarily manifest in the workplace.

The following are some, but not all, of the signs and symptoms that someone may be struggling with work stress, workplace anxiety, and depression:

  • Exhibiting uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Drinking or using substances excessively (both inside and outside of work)
  • Missing work days without noted explanation
  • No longer caring about their appearance or personal hygiene
  • Having trouble communicating at work
  • Sudden unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Expressing a lack of motivation
  • Having trouble concentrating at work
  • Expressing feelings of being overwhelmed with the amount of work they have

If any of these signs are present, there is a good chance that the individual is dealing with some stress, anxiety, and/or depression at work. The good news is that there are healthy and effective ways to manage these issues.

How to Manage Work Stress, Workplace Anxiety and Depression

Perhaps the best way to manage work stress is to tell someone about it. Doing so early can help avoid later more intensified stages of workplace anxiety and depression. This includes telling a trusted coworker, an employer, or a human resources (HR) officer. Most workplaces have set plans in place to help their employees manage unhealthy work stress.

However, if discussing it with someone does not fully or significantly alleviate work stress, it may be time to take some other direct measures. These include telling an employer that one’s workload is too heavy or asking to be taken off of certain stressful projects. It may also include a greater focus on getting better sleep and taking time to eat enough nutritious and nourishing foods. 

Many people also find that taking time off can be very beneficial when it comes to dealing with workplace anxiety and depression. This does not need to be a prolonged period either. Some people even take a single “mental health day,” which can help them decompress and reassess how they are managing their stress levels at work. These little breaks also help individuals maintain an essential healthy life/work balance.

The Importance of a Healthy Work/Life Balance

It is not uncommon for people to wholly identify themselves by the job they have. For example, if one is asked to describe themselves, they often start by saying what they do for a living and then go on to describe their relationships and passions.

This represents an unhealthy and skewed work/life balance. It is important to focus on other parts of one’s life so as not to get too bogged down in the mire of the workplace. Spending too much time at work can also negatively affect other people in the household as they can feel unseen and/or underappreciated. It is important to remember that projects come and go, but families are forever.

Our Primary Purpose at The Phoenix Recovery Center

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, our primary purpose is to help as many people heal from issues of addiction and mental illness as possible. This includes people who are suffering as a result of stress, anxiety, and depression at work.

The iconic American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote, “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” Yes, work is an important part of one’s life; however, one must always remember that it should never be the most important part.

While already high, work stress and depression levels seem to keep rising. The good news is there are many effective ways to manage work stress and thus reduce the chances of work depression. This includes taking needed pauses, taking “mental health days,” talking to someone (including someone in HR) when feeling overwhelmed, and not taking on too much (just to name a few). If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of work stress and/or depression, we can get you on the positive path to recovery. For more information about the causes of work stress and depression and how to best manage it, reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT