How Seasonal Depression Can Affect You at Work

Office worker stressed

Fall and winter bring short days and cold temperatures. This means you may get less time outdoors and less sun exposure than you would at other times of the year. It also means you’re increasingly susceptible to seasonal depression that affects your work.

Seasonal depression can have far-flung effects on your ability to remain productive at work. But, with a clear understanding of this issue, you can take steps to guard against it and minimize its impact.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression also referred to as “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), is a type of depression that is triggered by a change in season. It commonly affects people in late fall and early winter. However, this type of depression can affect people in spring and summer as well.

People coping with SAD can experience a wide range of symptoms at work, including:

  • Lack of interest in doing your job to the best of your ability
  • Indifference about your work and your career goals
  • Feeling increasingly stressed out or anxious at work
  • Avoid social interactions with your peers

SAD symptoms can begin without notice and escalate quickly. If left unaddressed, they can impact your ability to work for an extended period of time.

What to Do If You Experience Symptoms of Seasonal Depression

1. Meet with a Doctor

A doctor can perform a medical evaluation and review your symptoms. The doctor can then diagnose you with SAD and provide you with a plan to help you manage your symptoms.

Do not wait to go to a doctor if you experience SAD symptoms that last for two weeks or longer. Depression symptoms do not disappear on their own, and they can get worse over time. The sooner you meet with a doctor, the sooner you can start to feel better at work.

2. Establish Realistic Expectations

If depression symptoms make it difficult to work, ask for help. In addition to meeting with your doctor, consult with your manager. Then, you and your manager can look for ways to improve your work experience. Your manager may even offer assistance to help you enhance your work-life balance.

Expect SAD symptoms to gradually improve if you explore ways to manage them. If they do not, follow up with your doctor to consider alternative therapies and treatments.

3. Be Persistent

Seasonal depression can be problematic at work, but it is only temporary. Try to maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of adversity. This can help you get through a challenging season.

Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and continue to take steps to manage your health and well-being as you cope with SAD symptoms. If you need extra help along the way, consult with your doctor.

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