Guest Post; How to maintain a work – life balance while struggling with depression

It is great to have a guest post from Peter Minkoff, who bravely talks, about an important topic. Keeping a work -life balance whilst depressed.

I have been writing for a while now and it never gets easier to talk about something personal and painful. Opening up to the world is not easy, it leaves you vulnerable and not everyone out there is sensitive to others. I have also learned one more very important lesson, that there are others struggling and talking about difficulties, can bring a sense of relief and purpose. Whenever I open up about my struggles and encounter support, it makes me feel relieved, like I can breathe deeper. Opening up also helps others who are going through difficulties of their own. Knowing that you are not alone and being able to share your experience with others is powerful and healing.
How it starts

I have been dealing with depression for a long time. I had my first episode in my teens, and since that time, I have learned how to cope with it better. However, I still go through difficult periods and one trigger that has been difficult to neutralize is finding the right work-life balance. Today I won’t be getting into the details of my struggles, rather I would like to share some coping mechanisms that have proved to be useful to me, hoping that they will be as useful to you.
How I deal with it

Going to workplace counselling in Sydney has been very helpful to me. Seeking help is the best thing you can do when you are in a crisis and you feel like you can’t cope on your own. Next to this, there are some things that have helped me cope better and find that work-life balance that works for me and keeps me from going into a tailspin.
Self care

Learning how to put myself first hasn’t been the easiest thing for me. From a young age, we are taught that we have to put others first if we want to be a good person, but it’s not so simple. If you put others first and neglect to take care of yourself, you will end up feeling burned out and you won’t be able to take care of anyone. When we put ourselves first, we are not being selfish, we are simply caring for ourselves as best as we can and making sure we are going to be able to help others when they need us as well. Making a self care box is a great way to remember to put yourself first and let go of work-related issues for a while.
Making a plan

When I first started working, I had difficulty organizing my time. I spent most of my days working. The little time I had for my private life I used to rest from work. This left me feeling emotionally empty and vulnerable for depression, so I did something about it. I made a plan. It included regular social interactions and meal preparation, two things that are very important to me. Seeing my friends makes me feel content. I can talk to them and, when I feel I am getting in a bad place, it gives me strength and perspective because it reminds me I have people in my life who love me and care about me. Having a healthy meal is another thing that makes me feel better. Preparing food is an opportunity for me to unwind and get ready for tomorrow. I do my best to create meals full of fresh produce, and this has really made a difference to my energy levels and ability to cope.
Today I can say that I know how to care for myself, but I still get overwhelmed. When work gets busy, I lose perspective and neglect to take care of myself. When this happens, having a self care box or a plan, written down and posted somewhere I can always see it, is what grounds me and helps me feel better.

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