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How to Navigate Depression When Making a Career Choice

Workplace stress is at an all-time high. Between job shortages, limited benefits, and the pressure to be perfect, it’s no wonder why so many people are struggling to find contentment at work. So, it makes perfect sense that more people are thinking about changing their careers. But what should you do when you’re feeling depressed and considering a career choice? Don’t let your mental health keep you from going in the direction you truly want.


Let’s dive into some reasons you might be experiencing depression and how it can impact your next move when it comes to your career.

How Depression Can Ruin Your Career

When you seek out treatment for depression, one of the first tasks of a mental health professional is to determine what’s causing it. If you’re struggling with depression and it’s impacting your current career, take a look at your job and how it makes you feel. Is the pressure of a heavy workload causing you distress? Are the people the problem? Maybe it’s a toxic work environment, and it’s taking a toll on your mental health each day.


When you’re in a work environment that’s negatively impacting your mental state, you might think it would be easy to look for a new job. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Depression often leads to a lack of motivation. You might even struggle with self-esteem, or feel both hopeless and helpless. That can cause you to feel like you’re “stuck” in your current career, creating a vicious cycle of depression that can be difficult to break free from on your own.

Sadness Can Impact Your Job Decisions

Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand in these situations. Even if you know your career is contributing to your depression, the extreme sadness you feel might cause negative thoughts to keep you from making a change. Because you’re dealing with feelings of hopelessness, you might start to wonder if a different career path would be just as bad. Or, you might end up thinking that you’re the problem and you’re not good enough for a change.

What Can You Do?

So, what should you do to navigate depression when making a career choice? First, determine what’s causing it. If work is the culprit, one of the best things you can do is remove yourself from that environment. While it can help to have another job lined up already, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t. Your mental health needs to be your top priority. If something outside of work is contributing to your depression, it’s just as important to get to the bottom of it. Depression can wreak havoc on your career. You’ll be less productive, you won’t find satisfaction in your work, and you’re less likely to be social with your co-workers. Most importantly, it can hold you back from making career choices that would benefit you now and in the future.


For starters, lean on your support system. Talk to the people you trust about how you’re feeling, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Nowadays, mental wellness in the workplace is becoming a bigger conversation, and it’s often worth it to talk things out. If it’s your current job that is fueling your depression, consider bringing it up to your employer.


Again, it’s essential to get to the underlying cause of your depression. Talking to a therapist can make that easier. Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help, as well. From there, you’ll learn symptom management techniques and eventually how to overcome your depression and make a career choice you’re truly happy with.


Women with papers working on laptop
Image from Wix Media

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