5 Tips for Working From Home as a Depressed and Anxious Person

Depression and anxiety have been lifelong struggles for me. I have memories of being as young as fourth grade and having anxiety attacks. I’ve been on and off of medication for years, but finally felt like I hit my stride recently. In the past six months, I haven’t felt a need to be on anything. It’s been such a freeing feeling. Then BAM. In one week, there were two celebrity suicides and I felt like depression and anxiety articles were getting passed around at such a rapid rate I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The normal stuff I usually do to clear my mind wasn’t working, and the heavy feeling piled on. Before I knew it, I was in a really dark place. And out of nowhere!

There are so many reasons I don’t want to/can’t be in a dark place right now. Obviously, who would ever want to feel like absolute garbage and dragged into the depths of despair if they didn’t have to be? But I have a lot going on. It’s summer vacation and my three kids are home all day and need me. I’m trying to bring in an additional income with the work that I do and I need to focus. And honestly, I’m just so sick of pissing away my life feeling so rotten I don’t even want to get out of bed. I remember whole parts of my life based upon the dark cloud that was overhead during them: the summer I was so worried about skin cancer I never went outside, the winter I never went to a movie because I was afraid I would get shot, the entire year I was so upset about three separate people I knew of suffering from a brain tumor that I convinced myself I might have one.

I get so sick of myself sometimes.

But you know what? The show must go on. I have a life to live and I need to keep some handy tricks I can turn to when I feel absolutely horrible and worthless and have a business to run. The way depression and anxiety are, these don’t always work, but they are ALWAYS worth a try. 

5 tips for working from home as a depressed and anxious person

Change and uplift your surroundings.

Recently, I started to wonder if my penchant for wearing dark neutral colors, listening to soulful music, and several other habits could be effecting me on a cellular level. I guess I never thought about how some of these tiny decisions I make in a day might be really bringing me down. I thought it was interesting to try an experiment where I did the opposite of what I would usually do and see how it made me feel. Wearing a bright pattern instead of my typical black shirt; taking the time to style my hair rather than throwing it into a topknot, listening to uplifting Christian music rather than Adele, etc. I was really surprised how much better I felt after just a few days of trying to make some minor changes. 

Do the “hardest” thing on your to do list. 

I tend to make minuscule tasks into these HUGE deal, difficult to conquer roadblocks. The longer I put off doing something, even if it’s easy, the bigger the task FEELS even if it’s no big deal. The best feeling though? Sitting down and plowing through something that I’ve been putting off and making harder than it is. Nike said it best. Just do it. 

Time block to laser focus on a task.

I am very easily distracted and before I know it, hours have gone by and despite sitting in front of my work, I’ve accomplished nothing. It can be very hard to be disciplined, but especially since I have three kids and my time is limited, when I have the time to work I just need to GO for it. Setting a timer on my cell phone works great for me. Depending on the task, I usually give myself 5 minutes or 20 minutes. I’m not allowed to stop doing that task until my timer goes off. No breaks!

Eat and exercise for energy. 

The only thing I want to do when I am feeling rotten is to lay on the couch and close my eyes and be alone. But the bad feelings pull me in deeper when I give in to that. Fighting the feeling and throwing on my running shoes always helps, even if I don’t go very far or very fast. The endorphins lift my spirits when I can channel that negativity into something positive. The same goes for food. When I feel bad, I want cheesy carbs and chocolate. But they bring me from feeling low to feeling lower. If I can curb my cravings and get myself to eat something healthy I feel like a different, and happier person.

Do work that lights your soul on fire.

Much of the time I have spent dreading work in the past was because I didn’t like what I had to do. When I’m drowning in work I’m not passionate about, deadlines seem to eat me alive and everything is stress. If this is the case for you, you need to shift what you’re doing. What’s your “why?” Is it to stay home with your kids and be financially free? That’s a reason that drives you when you feel like working, but what about when you don’t feel like it? I’m not saying depression and anxiety won’t still rear their ugly heads into your life, but if you have a deep reason for doing the work you do, it will be more bearable to show up even on those days. And above all, relax. We should only be working so hard so we can play hard too. If you’re not taking some time to find enjoyment in life, what’s it really about? 

I hope at least one of these points was something you can institute into your own life. I’d love to hear any additional tips you have in the comments. And please, if you thought this was a useful post, share it with a friend!

Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? How do you cope?

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19 comments

  1. 6.28.18
    MarciaF said:

    It’s been on my mind to write about a medical problem that I feel people don’t understand but I never had the nerve to write it. I give you so much credit for opening up about this and coming up with solid suggestions. I went through several months of a deep depression and barely left my bed. Luckily I stopped taking a medication that I felt was causing it and eventually I felt better. Listening to what your mind tells you is another solution but talk it out with someone first.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      I’m so sorry you suffered, Marcia! I’m so glad you have it under control right now. Listening to your mind and talking it out are also great suggestions!

  2. 6.28.18
    Jen Walker said:

    For myself, it was the self care that I was missing (from being home with babies and always putting myself last) that made a big difference. It didn’t matter if I had nowhere to go, but getting a shower and dressed nicely rather than throwing on a tshirt and yoga pants made a big difference for me.

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      Yes! Makes a huge difference for me too!

  3. 6.29.18
    Kathryne said:

    I am glad that you’re able to manage it finally w/o medications. Depression is a serious mental health, unfortunately not a lot of people are able to overcome it. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      Yes, I actually feel so much better not on meds.

  4. 6.29.18
    25 Sweetpeas said:

    Fabulous posts. I for sure agree that the environment can be all the difference!

  5. 6.29.18
    Courtney said:

    *hug* I’m always glad to see tips like this. I struggle with my anxiety disorder and try to manage it and it slips into depression sometimes.

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      It is so hard when you get sucked in. Hugs to you too!

  6. 6.29.18
    My Nail Polish Obsession said:

    Good to find things that work for you to get through the day.

  7. 6.29.18
    LittleNuclearReactor said:

    I hope that you are feeling better these days or are at least making progress towards a happier you! I’m glad you shared your tips ??

  8. 6.30.18
    Lacquerexpression said:

    I’m glad that you recognize that you have a life worth living. As someone who works from home, having a dedicated ‘office’ space that is organized and clean (when the rest of my house is falling apart!) is key for me to be mentally in a good place where I can be productive.

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      That is an amazing idea. I need to find a way to keep my office space completely separate and organized! I can see how that would make a huge impact on my sanity.

  9. 6.30.18

    These are all great tips! The one about carbs is great; you feel great while eating comfort food, and then it ruins the next few days.

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      Yes, I totally agree!

  10. 6.30.18
    Madhubani said:

    Such a well written post dear..
    Depression is like a ticking time bomb, that can sneak up at anytime and on anyone. A big part of my teenage days were ruled and ruined by depression. Great tips .. Let’s break the chains that bind us! Life is so beautiful people; there is no place of depression in it….

    • 6.30.18
      justina said:

      Totally agree! I’m so glad not to be trapped underneath it right now!

  11. 7.1.18
    Ehmkay nails said:

    I am all about the to do list! So helpful for me

  12. 7.4.18

    These are great tips. I usually search the closet for a bright shirt or one with a sentiment that inspires me like “Today is a great day” “this is my happy shirt” “You;ve Got this” …. These things really help me pull on my gear and tackle the day

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