When you’re depressed, doing even the simplest task, like taking a shower can become too overwhelming. I even have days wherein getting out of bed is just too impossible. I mean, I used to love being so productive. I love checking things off my to-do-list; I love getting things done but when depression consumed me, it all changed.
Now, most days, my to-do list just goes out the window and I pretty much get nothing done. And this is not because we are too lazy to do it or we are choosing not to do it – we literally can’t do it. Depression just has its way of killing motivation, draining every bit of energy left for you to function.
I used to let this rule my life. I stayed in bed, closed the windows and just lie there; staring blankly at the ceiling with a million thoughts rushing through my mind but still surprisingly feel nothing. But I wanted to make a change. So, I pushed myself to think of ways to get back on top even on my most difficult days.
And I wanted to share this with you too. That’s why today, I have decided to share with you this 5-step guide on how to motivate yourself even when you’re depressed.
Start small and set the bar low
I used to set goals that were too high for me, doing this just made me feel so overwhelmed and anxious that I mostly ended up not doing anything at all and just beating myself for not being able to reach it. That’s when I realized that setting the same expectations for myself when I wasn’t depressed is only doing me more harm than good. So, if you’re pushing yourself too hard, you definitely need to stop.
Start small and set the bar low, start by doing even the smallest and simplest things, like getting out of bed and taking a shower. If you feel like you can do more, then add one more task or two. As long as you’re still comfortable doing it – it’s perfectly fine. Remember, baby steps.
Learn to avoid negativity
A week after being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, I made the decision to deactivate all my social media accounts and stop talking to people who were only bringing me down. And I absolutely made the right decision. Oftentimes, Social Media just makes us feel bad about ourselves. It just made me criticize myself over and over again for falling into depression and I knew that I didn’t need all that negativity. So, I deactivated it and it helped me so much.
Now, I’m not telling you to do the same, what I’m telling you is to recognize the factors that are dragging you down. Things that are only bringing negativity into your life and learn to avoid them. You don’t need this, especially now. Focus all your energy on everything that’s uplifting and inspiring.
Make self-compassion your best friend
I admit this is a tough one for me. I consider self-criticism as one of depression’s best friends. Depression wants us to constantly feel bad about ourselves for petty reasons. It wants us to criticize ourselves for being too “unproductive”. But you need to remind yourself that doing this will only keep you paralyzed. You must learn to stop all the negative self-talk and learn to practice self-compassion.
Stop being your worst enemy and start becoming your self’s cheerleader.
Create a support system
It’s always so easy to isolate yourself when you’re depressed. It’s easy to lock the doors and be alone. I did this too and sometimes I even still do it, I know it’s hard to let someone in and ask for their support but isolating ourselves is not going to help us either, it’s just going to make things worse.
We need to slowly let people in and ask for their encouragement. Talk to those whom you’re most comfortable and ask for their help.
Having someone encourage me to do things made getting out of bed easier. It made doing things more bearable.
Acknowledge small wins
Depression locks us in a room of isolation and it wants us to stay there. It’ll keep telling us that no matter what we do, tomorrow is still not going to be better. It gives us so much anxiety to even try or dare to get out of our beds. That’s why we all need to find the courage to break the locks and do something.
And when you do find the courage to mark something off your to-do-list, acknowledge it, celebrate it. Regardless of how small or insignificant you may think it is – it still matters.
Celebrating even the smallest milestone gave me this thirst to do something more the next day, it gives me a sense of fulfillment and that extra push of motivation that we all need.
I’m not going to say that I have mastered all of these because I ‘am still a work in progress. I won’t lie; I still have days spent lying in bed. I recognize that this is not something that happens overnight but if we start doing at least one of these steps every day, then we are one step closer. So, join me in my journey and let’s start crushing depression one day at a time!
What about you? What do you do to motivate yourself? Let me know in the comment section below or send me an email, I would love to hear from you!