A few weeks ago I was watching a news program on the economy and how so many people have been out of work for over a year. I was horrified to see some people have been out of work even more than a year. What was even more astonishing was the fact that many people without jobs have master’s degrees and doctorate degrees. The economy seems to have affected everyone from the under educated to the over educated. I was deeply saddened by this news. How do people cope in this dire situation when it appears the economy isn’t getting better anytime soon?
Unfortunately, many people aren’t coping and are becoming depressed. They start to feel hopeless and helpless. Depression can be a very debilitating disease if left untreated. However, depression is also something that can be helped. Some of the signs to look for to determine if you are depressed are listed below (Taken from the DSM-IV-TR -Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
Symptoms of Depression
1. Depressed mood nearly every day (feels sad or empty)
2. Diminished interest in activities
3. Significant weight loss or decreased appetite
4. Difficulty sleeping or tired and sleeping more often
5. Fatigue or loss of energy
6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
7. Inability to concentrate or think
8. Recurrent thoughts of death
If you feel that you are depressed here are a few things you can do to cope and get better:
How to Cope with Depression
1. Schedule an appointment to see a counselor.
2. Avoid isolation. Spend more time with friends and family and let them know how you are feeling.
3. Start writing down your thoughts rather than holding them all inside.
4. Get some exercise even if it is a brisk walk.
5. Avoid alcohol or illegal drugs as they tend to worsen depression symptoms
6. Ask for help! Don’t assume others know how you are feeling. Tell them what you need. Don’t be afraid to talk about why you are depressed.
7. Participate in activities that you enjoy to avoid negative thoughts.
8. Stay active and keep yourself busy.
9. Help someone else in need. Sometimes focusing on others is a positive distraction.
10. If you are spiritual, seek spiritual support.
If you have lost your job and are having trouble finding work again here are a few tips on how to avoid depression:
Tips on How to Avoid Depression
1. Refrain from negative thinking such as blaming yourself and focusing on your weaknesses. Negative thinking can grow bigger and bigger until it is all you think about. Your thoughts are very powerful and can bring you down quickly.
2. Try to stay positive and look at your strengths.
3. Surround yourself with people that are supportive and care for you.
4. Stay involved even if it means volunteering.
5. Try new hobbies such as cooking, gardening, a new sport, etc.
6. Be creative and look for new opportunities to expand your knowledge. Be open to new ideas!
7. Network, network, network! Finding a job has more to do with relationships than it does about skill. Tell everyone you know you are looking for work. Connect with people and you might be surprised at the doors it may open.