Creating motivation when feeling depressed can be one of the most difficult things a person can do. An episode of depression can be physically and emotionally draining. The simplest of tasks seem to take maximum effort, and sometimes even beyond maximum. Some may feel lethargic. It may be tough make meals, or clean up at home, or take showers, or even get out of bed.
Getting through being depressed can be difficult because we want to wait for the energy to return to us. People who are depressed often try to wait it out, that if you give into the urge to stay in bed all day, you will overcome it and become recharged. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way nor is it that simple. If people “wait it out” the depressions, many people wont get through it and you will end up catering to it and reinforcing the depression.
When you are dealing with depression, the last thing you want to do is actively doing anything. Make sure to give the depression symptoms their attention. Focus on using “mind over matter” to help create motivation over depression. Use some or all of the steps that can break a cycle of depression.
Opposite action is the idea of forcing yourself to do something that you know is good for you, in order to prevent the reinforcement of a bad habit. For example, if you want to stay on the couch and watch tv all day, when realizing this only gives in to depression, opposite action would say to get up and go out, knowing it would be a healthier behavior. It’s very much a “just to the opposite of your unhealthy urge” technique. In CBT, the principle is that your behaviors can create positive changes in your emotions.
2. Set an Alarm
Most people use an alarm when they need to get out of bed in the morning. Think about using an alarm to do other simple activities such as eating, doing laundry, or even running errands. Think of it as a way to tell your body and mind that its time to do something. The alarm serves as a cue to draw your attention to a target area where you want to become more active in change.
3. Make your bed
Getting out if bed is a difficult action when dealing with depression. Follow these steps to get yourself out of bed any time of the day
- Sit up
- Put your feet on the floor
- See yourself leaving all your troubles behind you in your bed.
- Make the bed, with the troubles still in the bed.
Making the bed is essential in this process, as it signals to your brain that there isn’t an option to get back in the bed for the day. As you make your bed, it can also be helpful to imagine the troubles you’re left behind dissipating as the covers are pulled up.
4. Wash Up
After you have made the bed, make as many “routine” like steps as possible. Try washing your face or brushing your teeth, anything that will wake you up. Let your body know that you are getting ready for the day and getting ready for “something”. Today will be a day that isn’t about just lying around all day.
5. Get Dressed
Getting dressed is a crucial step in separating from staying in bed all day to getting your mind ready to do more than that. Let mind know that today isn’t about lounging around all day in PJ’s but it’s about getting dressed and feeling better. It’s amazing how much better you will feel just by getting out of PJ’s and into “real” clothes.
6. Get Outside
This is the toughest step when dealing with depression, leaving the house. Once of the problems with this step is people usually don’t have a place to go. The goal is to go outside and not have a particular place to go once outside. Go outside, close the door behind you and see where the world takes you,.. Maybe its a walk around the block. Maybe it’s getting in the car and running errands. Or maybe its just pacing in front of your house doing nothing. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but just be outside for 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed on how you feel.
6. Choose an Exercise
Getting your body moving is such a better way of making your body and mind feel better. Choose an exercise that works for your ie: walking, swimming, running, yoga and so on. No matter what you do, do it every day, and if you can, do it before you head outside.
7. Brainstorm Activities
Make a list of activities you enjoy doing, include things inside the home and outside the home. Make a list of to do activities with people and by yourself. Make the list with things in mind that are work-related, activities, and self-care ideas. Now use the list to schedule activities. Plan one to two weeks out and actually write out the activities into your calendar or journal what you want to d. Make sure that your stick with your schedule.
8. Create a Daily Schedule
Make a schedule if you are having a difficult time being motivated to stay on a schedule.If you are having a hard time like remembering to eat, shower and other household chores, then make a schedule and stick to it. Choose specific times you are doing each activity every day. Be specific as you need to be IE: 8:15 am – get dressed. 8:20 am – eat breakfast. 8:40 am – brush teeth and so on. This will help your get your daily needs meet and actually function on a daily basis.
9. See Friends and Family
This is more about the people than the actual activity. Any time you are around others, it will help your mood improve greatly. Schedule specific times to do things with others and stick to it, The more your remove yourself from the environment of depression, IE: the home and bedroom, the better the chance to overcome it,
Keep in mind that during a bout of depression, you will less likely feel like doing anything on this list. Try to incorporate one of these items a week and see how quickly you do overcome the depression, You have the power to motivate yourself and come out of the depression, It might take a little but the opportunity is there for you to reclaim your life.