Even after all these year of managing depression I still have weeks where it’s hard to get things done. Mental health care is an ongoing thing for me. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out I start to get a little lazy and the next thing I know I’m in the middle of a full blow depressive episode. It’s so important when you’re at a real low to find some kind of way to keep getting things done. Anything. Even if it’s just little things. When I’m functioning as my best self I can get up early and work for 12 hours straight but there are other days where it’s hard to just manage to get basic shit done. These are tips I use to keep my life moving forward when brushing my teeth feels hard.
If you are feeling depressed and have low energy make sure that you are only working on the most important things. When I feel unmotivated it’s easy to procrastinate by doing other tasks that aren’t really that important. I love Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. One of the strategies he talks about in the book is to do the least desirable task first. Depression makes even doing every day things difficult and that means that any energy that you have is precious. You want to make sure that you are using your limited energy to get done the most important things (even if the most important thing isn’t something you want to do).
Make a Plan
Getting organized will help you stay on task. Check out the mental health planner I’ve been using to try and stay organized. On Sunday I fill out a weekly planner page so I can see the whole week on one page, then each morning I fill out a daily planner with the tasks I need to get done that day. If I’m feeling low energy I only pick two or three important things and focus on only doing those tasks. It’s easy to get distracted and writing down my to do list helps me stay on task.
Have a Clear Goal
My favorite book for setting goals is The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul. The book has you identify what your core desired feelings are and then has you set intentions based on how you want to feel. I love that the focus is on achieving a feeling and not on accomplishing superficial goals. It teaches you how to set goals in a way that is really inspiring and feels really good.
I recently finished the The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months. The book has you divide your year up into four 12 week chunks. This creates a sense of urgency because you have less time to accomplish your goals. This helps me stay motivated because I feel like I need to work harder to get things done. Spend some time thinking about how you can create a sense of urgency to help yourself stay motivated.
Figure out a treat you can get yourself once you reach a certain goal. It’s important to celebrate your success. Make sure you can afford whatever it is that you are celebrating with. Checkout my post on how to afford self care when you’re broke for some ideas on how to save money. Once you get a certain task done or achieve a specific thing take yourself for ice cream or to the movies. Celebrating your success will help you stay motivated keep going and achieve more.
Listen to Audiobooks
I’ve been using Audible to listen to books and I’ve finished three books in the last two months just by listening to books while I do my makeup and wash the dishes. This is a lot for me because I don’t typically read a lot of books. I originally signed up for audible because they will give you two free books just for signing up. I figured I would end up cancelling it after I got the free books but I have found it’s a great way to read more books.
Unsubscribe from email
Email can be freaking overwhelming. Save yourself the time you spend going through your email by unsubscribing from lists you don’t want to subscribe to anymore. I use unroll.me to keep my email under control. It’s a free service that helps you quickly and easily unsubscribe from email lists you don’t want to be on anymore.
Balance is Bullshit
Sometimes getting shit done means being OK with life being out of balance. Maybe you want to write a book so you let the house cleaning slide or maybe you are focusing on spending time with your family so you stopped wearing makeup to have more time with them in the morning. Life comes in seasons and during different seasons your focus is different. It’s completely OK to let some things go for a little bit if you want to focus on improving one area of your life.
See a Therapist
If depression or anxiety are keeping you from achieving what you want to achieve in life see a therapist. Anxiety and depression are both treatable. A therapist will be able to help you figure out what the best treatment option is for you. I’m and advocate for taking medication but if you don’t want to take medication you still need a treatment plan so you can recover. A therapist is trained to help you figure out the best options for you and help you find relief. Use this therapist finder to find someone to talk to and checkout my tips for going to therapy for the first time.
I hope these depression motivation tips will help you a little bit. Everyone has times when they are functioning at a really high level and other times where they can’t get as much done. Be realistic about where you’re at and set reasonable tasks for yourself. Don’t get down on yourself if you are not able to get as much done as you want, this is just one phase of your life and it will pass.
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