As indicated in a Psych Central post, depression is emotionally and physically draining, making those suffering it feel lethargic and struggle to find motivation for even the simplest tasks.
Finding motivation when depressed is difficult for most people. This is partially because of the physical effects of depression, but also because often the natural instinct is to wait out the depressive state.
Since depression breeds depression, waiting it out is a tactic that negatively reinforces depressive urges.
The post’s author explores 12 ways to actively motivate yourself and break an episode or cycle of depression.
- Opposite Action: This idea argues that doing something you know is good for you can help prevent reinforcing a bad habit. If you know watching TV all day makes you continue to feel depressed, try to get out instead and see if that action creates positive emotions.
- Set an Alarm: Do this for any and all activities where you need help be it getting out of bed, remembering a meal, or running errands. Setting an alarm helps remind you of areas you need to focus on and actively make a change.
- Make Your Bed: By making your bed, you signal to your brain that you cannot get back in the bed for the rest of the day.
- Wash Up: Doing this after making your bed provides more structure and routine to your life while also giving your brain the impression that you’re getting ready for the day as opposed to just laying around.
- Get Dressed: This action is connected to the previous two tips in that it motivates you to do more than lounge at home for the day.
- Go Outside: Going outside can be difficult for those suffering depression. This step does not require having a plan or a place to go. Simply step outside of your house and do what feels right, whether it’s a quick walk or running an errand. Just ten minutes outside is an active way to combat depression.
- Choose One Exercise: Exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul. Find an exercise that you enjoy and make a point to do it every day.
- Make a List of Activities: Think about what you like to do and want to do more of. It can be leisure, self-care, or work-related. Make sure the list is a good mix of activities to do alone and with others.
- Schedule Activities: Refer to your list of activities and schedule some to plan your next week or two. Be specific with dates and times and spread out the activities so you don’t get overwhelmed. This will make it easier to stick to your schedule.
- Daily Necessity Schedule: If you’re struggling with necessary day-to-day activities like eating, cooking, showering, etc. create a daily home schedule. This schedule, which could include activities as specific as when to get dressed, will help with everyday functioning.
- See Family and Friends: Improve your mood by surrounding yourself with friends and family outside of the house. You are more likely to overcome depression if you remove yourself from the environment that reinforces it – usually your house or bedroom.
- Psychotherapy: Remember that wanting to stay inside, forgetting to cook meals, etc. are symptoms of depression. Another way to create, navigate, and maintain motivation is to talk about the internal issues causing these symptoms with a professional.
You have the power and capability to conquer depression. Try opposite action tactics to combat your symptoms and consider talking to a professional to address the deeper problems.