A Healthy Place article discusses how to combat the often-debilitating lack of motivation that comes with depression and other mental illnesses.
A lack of motivation makes it difficult to complete tasks or carry out plans, including the simplest and most basic acts such as showering.
People often mistake this clinical lack of motivation as laziness or apathy. However, there is a distinct difference between a non-depressed person’s laziness and a depressed person’s lack of motivation.
A non-depressed person who feels lazy usually doesn’t want to expend the energy to complete a task; a depressed person who is unmotivated feels as if they cannot physically complete the task.
Battling this lack of motivation is critical for a depressed person to start down the road to mental health recovery. Below are three tips to combat the problem:
1. Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing your tasks and what needs to get done is important when combating a lack of motivation. Determine what needs to get done (such as showering and other acts of self-care) and what can be put lower on the list.
2. Make Your Tasks Smaller
Another way to make tasks less overwhelming and gain motivation to do them is to break them down into smaller parts. Instead of letting a big problem get worse (such as letting dishes pile up), break the large overall task into smaller components. Start by unloading the silverware, then take a break and unload the bottom rack when you are in the kitchen later. Take another break and tackle the top rack next. Continue this tactic until suddenly what felt like an insurmountable task is complete.
3. Congratulate Yourself for Each Victory
Remember that no victory is too small to celebrate. Every step and success is important to recognize. Allow each of these victories to encourage you to move forward on your road to recovery.