The Way to Work

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The Way to Keep Working: Recession Depression

March 23, 2009
by Rachel Balik
If the recession is causing you to feel increasingly depressed, you’re not alone; nor are you alone in seeking help. There are numerous ways to cope when your mood plummets alongside the economy, no matter how mild or severe your condition.

Bad Economy, Bad Mood

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People can’t stop wondering whether this is a recession or depression, or if the recession will turn into the depression, or how this crisis compares to the Great Depression or … you get the drift. No one really knows what’s going to happen next, but one thing is for sure: the economic crisis isn’t doing anything to liven up people’s moods. In fact, the recession appears to be inducing emotional depression in a number of people, a state of being that makes it even more difficult to weather financial woes.

One out-of-work carpenter explained to a San Francisco affiliate of ABC News that he was feeling a “sense of doom.” He noted that it affected his relationship with his wife and his “outlook on life.” Mental health professionals say that when your mood starts affecting your day-to-day functioning, it’s a sign of depression. That means that if you have trouble sleeping, concentrating or feel a prevailing sense of anxiety, you may want to seek professional help.

Talk It Out

You may also be able to get some relief just by talking to friends and family. Since everyone is experiencing the same thing, people may find consolation in the fact that they’re not alone.

At the very least, it’s important to talk openly with your partner, since financial worries can damage your relationship. Many couples this year have had to cut back on the trappings of romance; for example, Jim and Renee Fellows nixed Valentine’s Day after Jim was laid off. But it isn’t so much the little stuff that matters. If there’s a lot of debt, tension and guilt can take over the relationship.

A Cambridge University Study found that while women may be more vocal about their anxiety, men suffer more because much of their identity is tied up in their job. Not only do men worry more when they’ve lost their job, they are often are unable to feel mentally well unless the job they have is secure. At a time when no one’s job is safe, men are quite vulnerable to feelings of hopelessness.

Unfortunately, if you decide you need professional help to cope with your feelings, you may have some difficulty getting it. So many people are seeking help that many therapists are finding themselves totally booked. Many employees are taking advantage of their benefits to get help dealing with their fear and sadness about looming layoffs, Forbes.com reports. Sometimes these feelings express themselves physically, as fatigue, muscle pain, apathy, dizziness or stomach problems.

Keeping Upbeat in the Downturn

While the world seems to devolve into chaos, Forbes advises you to “pause but not panic.” Although there is plenty to worry about, dwelling on it is probably the least productive thing anyone can do. Making lightning decisions under pressure won’t help you; the best thing you can is take care of yourself so your choices come from a stable place. That means eliminating bad habits, including “gambling, substance abuse or over- or under-eating.” Replace them with meditation, exercise or activities you enjoy.

As it turns out while suicide rates do spike during the recession, so do exercise rates. So even though mental stability is a bit shaky, it turns out that people are a lot healthier. Fortunately, the endorphins one gets from exercise and choosing healthy habits may actually be valuable in combating depression.

But if exercise alone won’t help, do turn to professionals to get you back on your feet. FindingDulcinea’s “Top 6 Sites for Coping with Anxiety and Depression” can help you determine the severity of your condition, and manage it accordingly.
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