The Hard Work of Being a Consultant and Depression



The career of a consultant can be a rewarding one, filled with exciting challenges and the opportunity to help others. However, the demands of the job can come with a physical, mental and emotional toll, and it can often be difficult to maintain a healthy balance between work and private life.

This blog post will look at the potential risks of being a consultant, specifically the impact of hard work on mental health and wellbeing and the potential for depression.

Definition of depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that is marked by a range of physical and emotional symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is defined as “a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest” that can last for weeks or months.

This mental illness is diagnosed when a person has five or more of the following symptoms for a prolonged period:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Little pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Excessive fatigue and low energy
  • Thoughts of death
  • Insomnia/sleeping too much
  • Irritability
  • Significant changes in weight/appetite (unintentional)

Symptoms must be present most days and cause distress or difficulty functioning in order to be classified as depression. It is important to keep in mind that each person experiences depression differently; some may have mild symptoms while others can have severe episodes. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help from an appropriately trained mental health provider.

The Mental Health of a Consultant

Being a consultant requires long hours and hard work, which can lead to fatigue, burnout, and depression. Working as a consultant can be a lonely job and often requires travelling away from home. It can lead to feelings of isolation and stress, making it difficult to maintain a healthy mental state.

In this article, we’ll look at how to manage the mental health of a consultant to make sure they can stay healthy and productive on the job:

The stress of consulting

The stress of consulting can be immense. Constant pressure to produce successful work for clients, handle multiple projects, tight deadlines and handle competing priorities can all lead to a mental health issue. Over time, the built-up pressure from prolonged stress can lead to depression in some consultants.

Many consultants may feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help for feelings of depression or anxiety related to their job. However, it is important that they take steps to signpost mental health issues and ensure they are getting the necessary help and support. If a consultant is experiencing the symptoms of depression, such as low motivation and energy levels, changes in eating habits or difficulty sleeping then it would be wise for them to speak with their doctor and seek therapy if necessary.

Making sure that work responsibilities do not become all-encompassing is key. Studies have shown that cortisol production (the hormone associated with stress) increases when our workloads become too heavy which can result in burnout if not managed properly. One way of combating this can be setting boundaries between home life and your role as a consultant so that you are able to switch off more effectively upon leaving work each day. Regular breaks throughout the day are also key for managing cortisol production levels in order for consultants to remain productive without compromising their wellbeing.

Consultants should remember that few jobs depend upon them solely; burnout affects everyone involved when its left unmanaged so taking responsibility for looking after your own mental health will ultimately benefit both themselves and their work colleagues/clients alike.

The impact of long hours on mental health

Long working hours are often an inevitability for those in the consulting industry. Despite being a lucrative career path, this field is incredibly demanding, and employees are often expected to work around the clock for extended periods of time to complete a job. This pattern of behavior can lead to significant burnout, as well as more serious mental health issues.

Research shows that people who work 55 or more hours per week have a higher risk of developing depression. Such heightened levels of stress and fatigue can also contribute to feelings of isolation or difficulties in personal relationships. Additional indicators may include apathy or lack of motivation, changes in sleeping or eating habits, increased substance use, and difficulty concentrating.

It’s important for consultants to recognize these signs and take steps to maintain their mental health so that these risks can be managed effectively. Short-term solutions such as reducing workloads or taking regular breaks from work are ideal methods for those seeking preventative measures. Reaching out to friends and family members who understand the complexities involved with consulting careers can be beneficial in providing much-needed support during times of distress. Furthermore, getting professional help such as counseling or therapy sessions should also not be overlooked when dealing with difficult emotions associated with long working hours or burnout symptoms.

The lack of social support

The work of a consultant, especially one operating independently, can be highly isolating. Even when a consultant works for an agency or company, the nature of their work still carries a great burden in terms of feeling disconnected from others. Social support networks are often forged by colleagues who have interacted with each other in physical and/or virtual spaces for long periods of time.

Because of the nature and demands that consulting jobs come with, many consultants feel like they lack the chance to form meaningful connections with those around them. This lack of social support can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation which can contribute to depression.

As consultations often require the consultant to travel or work remotely, it can be hard to maintain connections with friends and family who may not know much about their job. This difficulty connecting also affects both current and former clients as many consultancy relationships are transactional rather than personal in nature. Without regular interactions or adequate acknowledgement for their efforts, consultants often become discouraged by how invisible they feel – leading to lower self-esteem and bouts of depression.

Strategies for Managing Depression

Being a consultant brings a unique set of challenges, from long workdays to high pressure deadlines. Despite adjusting to these demands, sometimes depression can be hard to overcome. It is important to find coping strategies to help manage depression in an effective and positive way.

Here, we will discuss some strategies for managing depression while being a consultant:

Developing an effective self-care routine

Without proper self-care, managing depression can feel like an insurmountable task. Though the circumstances vary from person to person, having a set routine is often essential for combating depressive symptoms. To that end, it’s important to create a daily plan that incorporates healthy habits and regular activities that bring meaning and purpose.

To develop an effective self-care routine, it’s important to identify your specific needs and recognize the resources available to you in order to meet them. Start by assessing your current lifestyle – determine what daily activities are fulfilling and enjoyable, as well as any patterns of thought or behavior that could be contributing to your depression. From there, build a plan that works for you by incorporating elements such as:

  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity helps improve concentration, reduce stress levels and increase energy levels; 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day is recommended.
  • Nutritious diet: Eating a balanced diet decreases fatigue caused by dietary imbalances while providing essential energy and nutrients; aim for fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods whenever possible.
  • Stress management: Prioritizing sleep with set bedtimes can greatly reduce stress; attempting relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga may also help in reducing stress throughout the day.
  • Cognitive reframing: Adjusting how we think about difficult events can help us find more meaningful perspectives on our experiences; try journaling or reading positive quotes in order to gain fresh insight on rough times.
  • Social interaction: Connecting with supportive friends or family members can boost mood while providing necessary social interactions; if not possible due to travel constraints or other obligations look into joining support groups or engaging in healthy hobbies like writing clubs or classes through local community centers instead.

Building a support system

It is difficult to manage depression alone. Building a support system of friends and family members who are aware of your symptoms and with whom you can express yourself openly, is an important part of the process. Involve trusted friends in the development and maintenance of your plan for managing depression, so that they are aware of any strategies you might be employing to cope.

Make sure that your support system understands the importance of consistency in managing depression. Rather than viewing depression as purely a clinical matter, consider how it may be affecting every aspect of your life, from job performance to family relationships and recreational activities. Determine who among your immediate contacts can best provide emotional support while confronting general life challenges that come with depression.

Once you have built a supportive network around yourself, strive to create opportunities for individualized attention whenever possible while managing depression. Go out for a walk or do some activity with one or two supportive persons rather than attending large social gatherings which can be daunting when dealing with low moods and fatigue often associated with depression. Alternatively, if sharing feelings too challenging or uncomfortable – like talking about why you’ve been short-tempered or missing appointments –has an unpleasant ring in social gatherings – look out for activities that could just preoccupy your time or distract from negative thoughts:

  • Visiting museums or public spaces
  • Going on a nature hike
  • Making use of public gym facilities
  • Reading educational books
  • Taking online classes etc.

Consider activities that do not need too much energy but still keep the mind active – like drawing, solving puzzles etc – which will help increase levels of concentration as well as introduce new stimulating thoughts which could be helpful for managing depression over time.

Finally prioritize adequate rest breaks throughout the day when dealing with long hours at work or stressful situations like meetings etc., with regular breaks such as meditation, simple relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises etc., all adding up to significant improvements in both mental health and work productivity over time.

Setting realistic expectations

Setting realistic expectations is an important strategy for individuals dealing with depression. Depending on the severity of a person’s depression, he or she may need to adjust and adapt their career choices or goals, scale back their workload, or find ways to make life more manageable. Taking time to reflect on what you can and cannot do based on your mood, energy levels, and interests can help you determine what changes are necessary in how you approach your career.

It’s important to recognize that everyone has different goals, aspirations, and capabilities; don’t over-stretch yourself beyond what is feasible. Your workplace may not encourage that—but setting clear boundaries helps protect your mental health while still accomplishing work tasks in a satisfactory fashion. Deadlines might be adjusted as needed as long as they don’t disrupt the overall working process. Additionally, setting aside time during the week for focused self-care activities like yoga or listening to calming music can help lower stress levels and reduce rising feelings of anxiety and depression.

You know yourself best; figure out what pacing works best for you while dedicating some energy each day to the projects at hand. Consider creating short-, medium-, and long-term strategies designed around your well-being so that you are better able to focus on completing tasks with manageable stress levels instead of reactionary responses due to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Keeping a journal—or even enlisting the help of a mental health professional—can also assist in analyzing where improvements can be made and developing effective coping strategies along with achievable business objectives for work/life balance difficulties caused by depression struggles.


Working as a consultant can be a demanding role and there can be a range of impacts on not only your physical health and mental wellbeing but also your emotional state. This article has discussed the ways in which hard work, long hours and difficult clients can negatively impact a consultant and lead to depression. It has also explored ways of managing depression and looking after yourself while performing a consultant role.

In conclusion, it is possible to have a successful career as a consultant whilst looking after your mental wellbeing.

The importance of mental health for consultants

As a consultant, the most important asset is your mental health, because it dictates your attitude and performance— both of which are vital for successful work delivery. Many consultants have never dealt with depression and may not realize that their decline in performance or lack of motivation could be related to their mental health. Exhaustion, long hours, disruption to one’s life balance, and poor sleep habits can all create an environment where depression can grow and thrive.

If you feel that your mental health may be negatively affecting your work performance or causing you not to finish tasks, talk to a trusted colleague or friend who may be able to understand how you’re feeling. Consultants must take additional care of their own mental wellbeing since they are often solitary workers without the direct support of colleagues.

Moreover, it is crucial that consultants find ways to unplug periodically and practice self-care activities such as exercise, yoga, meaningful conversations with friends/loved ones, mindfulness practices (meditation or journaling), etc. If necessary or desired, therapists or other professionals can help provide additional support or guidance when needed. The well-being of a consultant is essential for every project success; thus make sure to take care of yourself as part of the hard work of being a consultant.