What is the importance of taking a break from work due to depression?

In this blog, we will explore the topic of taking a break from work due to Depression, and also cover other topics like can work lead to depression, signs of depression from work, why it is important to take a break, how to take a break, and also answer frequently asked questions. 

What is the importance of taking a break from work due to depression?

It is extremely important for you to take a break from work when you are suffering from depression as depression can suck out all the energy from you, make you feel tired all day, make you procrastinate, make you feel demotivated, etc., which are all going to make you feel worse and affect your daily functioning and work.

We live in a fast-paced world where everything is a competition. Success is measured by the number of hours you stay awake, how quick you can meet deadlines, and your ability to maintain a perfect work-life balance. However, the stresses of everyday life keep us on our toes.

We do pay attention to our physical health. We exercise, run, or join yoga clubs etc. to be physically fit. This is because we directly link physical fitness to increased work productivity. 

However, when it comes to mental health we follow a breakdown mentality. We will continue to work day and night, ignoring all the warning signs of our depleting mental health till the time we reach the burnout stage. 

In other words, we won’t ask for an air tube till the time the water is above head level. But with the progressing world and the ever-increasing awareness about mental health, it is important that we also rethink our approach.

Can work lead to depression?

While work may not cause depression, the work environment plays a very important role in determining the mental state of an employee. Bad working conditions can worsen the symptoms of people who already have depression.

“Any workplace or occupation could be a potential cause or contributing factor for depression, depending on the level of stress and available assistance at the workplace,” said Rashmi Parmar, MD, a psychiatrist at Community Psychiatry.

According to World Health Organisation(WHO), an unpleasant working environment can lead to:

●      Deterioration in physical and mental health

●      Increase in taking leaves

●      Decrease in productivity

●      Substance abuse, for example, addiction to cigarettes or alcohol

In America, depression is among the top three problems faced by the working population. Early detection and awareness are crucial in the case of workplace depression.

Depression is a complicated disorder with a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that may affect anyone or everyone. When we consider someone battling with depression due to work, a variety of job and non-work-related causes may be at play. We need to understand these causes and signs in order to provide timely help to the person.

What are the signs of depression from work?

We all at one point or another feel stressed at work. Today’s world is competitive and it’s true that we can’t just take a break or quit every time we feel stressed or depressed. Here are some signs that can help you to figure out if it is the right time for you to take a break.

  • Feeling restless

One big sign that you are overworked is seen in your inability to relax. You quickly jump from one project to another without taking any break. Even if you don’t have a project at hand, your mind keeps wandering. This can make it hard for you to regain your energy when you actually require it.

  • Inability to sleep

The first thing you lose when you are extremely stressed is your ability to sleep at sound hours. You will keep working on a project late at night or even wake up at odd hours to complete pending assignments. It will be almost impossible for you to go back to sleep because your mind is not at peace.

There are also chances that you may be suffering from insomnia if:

  • For at least three months, you’ve had sleep difficulties at least three evenings a week.
  • Your sleep problems are causing you significant distress or impairing your ability to operate.
  • Changes in eating habits

When you’re stressed your eating patterns start to differ. You may start eating less or skipping meals because you are too busy with work. Some people also indulge in binge-eating when stressed, that is, they eat more amount of food than they usually do. Both scenarios are unhealthy for your mental health.

  • Lack of motivation

Whenever we start a new job or any new phase of our life we are all very excited about it. We have the curiosity to learn and explore new things, meet new people, and be a part of a new environment. But sometimes this environment gets toxic. If you literally have to drag yourself out of bed every day to go to a job that you actually enjoyed at one point, then it is a sign that you might need a break.

  • Decrease in concentration

When there’s too much on your plate, you’ll notice that your ability to concentrate on things is slowly decreasing. You will start to zone out of meetings and will not be able to have a track of the deadlines, etc.  

Some other signs of depression:

  • Isolating yourself from other people, particularly your co-workers
  • Increased absenteeism or late arrival a work
  • Procrastination, missing deadlines, decrease in productivity, increased errors in work
  • Feeling tired for the most part of the day
  • Not taking interest in any task
  • Losing control over your emotions. Feeling irritable, angry, overwhelmed, and frustrated.

What are the causes of workplace depression?

There are a number of reasons why you might be experiencing more depression symptoms at work. While no two people — or situations — are alike, several similar features emerge when determining the sources or triggers of work-related depressive symptoms.

Some of the factors that may lead to workplace depression include –

●      Being in continuous fear of losing your job

●      Feeling like you have no control over the work you do

●      Not being able to maintain a work-life balance

●      A huge difference between the amount of work you do and the pay you receive

●      Working at odd hours

●      Experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination

●      You feel that your current job won’t contribute to your future goals

●      Having unsafe working conditions

●      The work setting doesn’t match your personal values

What are the benefits of taking breaks?

Taking a break from work comes with both physiological and psychological rewards. Some of the benefits include-

  • Decrease in stress levels

Taking a break from work can help to break the stress cycle. It provides you with mental peace. You can do things that make you happy, this releases a neurochemical called dopamine, also called the happy hormone. Dopamine also helps in reducing stress levels.

  • Rest helps you

Taking a break finally gives you an opportunity to rest. You can catch up on all the sleep you lost working late hours. You feel better both mentally and physically.

  • Clarity of thought

Stress leads to decreased creativity, memory problems, headaches, low energy etc. Taking a break gives you time to refresh your mind. It helps you to look at things from a different perspective and clear your thinking. It also helps to boost your creativity in all areas of life.

  • Increased productivity

Contrary to popular belief, research has found that taking a break might be really helpful for you and your business. Employee happiness and productivity have been shown to improve with micro-breaks, midday breaks, and longer breaks. 

Resting on a regular basis can help you perform better. All of these can help you improve your job performance, be more present in your relationships, be more energetic with your family, and be more able to enjoy life after you return. 

How to take a break? Tips to help you take a break

Personal health is something that should be kept private. When you need to take time from work due to a mental health illness, however, maintaining that anonymity is often impossible. 

Due to the social stigma around mental health, many people refrain from taking leaves that concern mental health issues. 

They feel that no other employee has ever taken time off for their mental health and that they are the first ones to do so. It is important to break this stigma and to normalize taking leaves for taking care of one’s mental health.

Once you’ve taken a break from work, then you can explore several different options like:

  • Vacation

Remember that Europe trip you’ve been postponing with your friends because of your workload. Well now is the perfect opportunity to pack your bags and leave.

Keep in mind that a perfect vacation is a combination of both rest and fun. Don’t overbook yourself with tourist activities. Explore the paces in your own time and at your own pace.

  • Staycation

Since everyone doesn’t have the time, money, and stamina to go on an exotic vacation, a staycation is becoming a popular choice among the youth. Staycation basically refers to just sitting in your home in your comfy pyjamas and enjoying your day doing whatever you like. From binge-watching Netflix shows to learning hobbies that you never got time for, you can do anything at a staycation.

  • Short breaks

Sometimes all you need to do is take a little vacation from stress to disrupt the body’s stress response cycle, then get back to work. 

Take a trip or a bike ride, watch a movie or even do a five-minute meditation session if you just need a little break. Physical activity and spending time outside in the fresh air can both help to ease stress. Incorporating these activities into your brief break, such as taking a walk around the block, will help you get more bang for your buck.


Most of us have a lot of apprehension about taking a break from work for our mental health. We are too ashamed to express our struggles and concerns with other people and often tend to assume that they won’t understand us. This is all because of the misconceptions and lack of awareness regarding mental health issues like depression. In America, 6 out of every 8 adults is likely to face depression. 

A problem that’s so common, yet so uncommon for us to speak up for. When you’re dealing with depression symptoms at work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

The first step to receiving help is recognising symptoms such as anxiousness, anger, boredom, and loss of interest. Talk to your manager, boss , or supervisor regarding your concern. At times people are more empathetic than we think them to be. After that, seek professional help if required. Just remember that you are not alone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is the importance of taking a break from work due to depression?

Is it ok taking a break from work for your mental health?

Yes, it is completely alright to take a break from work to take care of your mental health. Doing so helps to increase your creativity, reduce stress levels, and also boosts your productivity.


Is depression a valid reason to take a break from work?

You’re not in a good place if you don’t feel that your work is worthwhile and/or the environment is awful. It’s worth emphasising that depression is the leading cause of disability in the globe. Even with medication, it’s possible that your symptoms are severe enough to make working a 40-hour week impossible. So yes, it is a completely valid reason to take a break from work due to depression.

Can you take a break from work for depression?

Yes, you can take a break from work for depression. There are often stress leaves granted at the workplace to help their employees to take care of mental health issues, care of a family member, and other issues that might be preventing you from working. 

Is it okay to take a break from work due to anxiety?

Yes, it is absolutely okay to take a break from work due to anxiety as the break can help you deal with your symptoms and also work on yourself. When you are going through a tough time with your mental health, then working can feel like a total task. 

How do I tell my boss I need time off for mental health?

You can tell your boss about you wanting to take a break for your mental health in a conversation. Be very direct, don’t overthink, be polite, try to say it simply without complicating it, etc. Just tell your boss this is something that you really need, and it would be helpful to your wellbeing as well your work. 

How long should I stay off work with depression?

You should take your time to get better and get back to work whenever you feel it is the right time to return to work. Take this time off work to focus on getting better, getting the treatment you need, and just focus on your well-being. 

How do I go back to work after depression?

You can prepare to return to work after depression:

  • Try to stay in touch with your colleagues
  • Catch up on what is going on with work
  • Visit before you return to work
  • Try to return to work in a gradual manner
  • Readjust your working hours
  • Have a support system to rely on
  • Keep taking sessions with a therapist regularly every week. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.


Work Depression: How to take care of your mental health. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/work-depression#treatment

How to take a break from work (and why you need it https://www.verywellmind.com/why-you-should-take-a-break-3144576#toc-benefits-of-taking-a-break

I need a break https://www.healthline.com/health/i-need-a-break#loss-of-joy

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