Talking about depression and more specifically depression in men in the work place is something that we tend to avoid. The reality is a significant number of men are silently suffering from this common condition and we need to educate each other on what we can do to help this.
Corporate depression is characterised by dreading going to work, spending countless hours there and being unbelievably unenthusiastic to the point of being mournful, sad and regretful about performing your job. If this sounds like you or someone you know there are 2 key weapons that can help reduce if not eliminate this silent affliction.
Weapon #1 Exercise:
The benefits of exercise are well known. But there are a few I think that really need to be highlighted here as it relates to depression. A recent study published in Cell has found that people with higher levels of the muscle enzyme PGC-1 alpha1 were much more resistant to depression. Exercising 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week was shown to increase the levels of PGC-1 alpha1.
Subsequently the PGC-1 alpha1 breaks down the protein kynurenine which is released during stress and is known to cause damaging inflammation in the brain leading to depression.
Additional studies reported in the Harvard Health Publication and the MAYO clinic have also reported that doing exercise 3-5 times a week for at least 35-60 minutes is more effective then anti- depressants when it comes to treating depression.
So there you have it – lace up those shoes and choose an activity you enjoy. If you have never exercised before we recommend you see your doctor to make sure you are physically ok.
Weapon #2 Nutrition:
Whatever you put into your mouth ultimately becomes what you are. Our bodies require vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and even fat from the food that we eat. Unfortunately, many of our foods have been processed and many of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs and fats have been destroyed or modified in the process rendering them useless or even dangerous to our bodies. More and more research is demonstrating a link to a number of key minerals, vitamins and protein and depression.
Finding the right diet and deciding whether or not to supplement can be very confusing because of all the different diets and opinions available. The best advice in this situation is to visit a nutritionist and get personalised information as every body is different and what may work for your friend may not work for you. However, in general nutritional terms choose foods that grow in the ground, on a tree or walk/run in a field or swim in the sea. Staying as close to organic or biodynamic is also important, as today’s modern farming practices use a variety of chemicals that can be very harmful to the body.
Working in a corporate environment can be a bit more difficult to get good nutrition because of the long hours and what seems like a popular option to eat at a restaurant. Planning is key in this case. Check out your calendar the day before and pack a lunch that includes a complete meal of all the essential nutrients you need. If you work for all 3 meals, stock the staff fridge with healthy foods or frequent the restaurants with healthy options.
When it comes to supplementation having personalised advice is the best. Make an appointment with a nutritionist so the proper testing can be done and your levels of vitamins and minerals can be determined accurately and the proper supplementation prescribed.
Unfortunately depression in the work place is a becoming more and more common and there are many factors that contribute to it. Examining your nutrition and exercise programs and creating programs that are more optimal for your health are great places to start in trying to overcome the condition.