Staying motivated can be a difficult task all on it’s on, but if you add in depression it can feel like an impossible goal. Last week I shared stories from mental health warriors, you can read it here. Revisiting the topic of mental health really sparked a fire. I wanted to share with you today a little information on depression and 8 tips to achieve motivation while fighting depression.
American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines depression as “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.”
Symptoms of Depression:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Disclaimer– I am not a doctor or mental health professional. These are ideas that have helped me to find motivation while depressed, these tips may or may not work for you. If you are having a hard time dealing with depression you should talk to your doctor or mental health provider. If you are having thoughts about death or suicide call 911, a hotline, or mental health provider.
8 Tips To Achieve Motivation While Fighting Depression
1. Don’t Stay In Your Pajamas!
Get out of bed and don’t stay in your pajamas. It might sound easy enough, but for people that experience depression, this can be a difficult task. However, I have found that if I get out of my pajamas I feel more accomplished and I am less likely to mope all day. I don’t get to stay in bed because I have little children that need me, but staying in my pajamas can play tricks with my mind.
If you accomplish this one thing, even though it might seem small, you are more likely to feel motivated to complete more. In order to succeed at any task on your to-do list, you must get out of bed.
2. Don’t Set The Bar Too High
Let’s be honest when you are depressed you aren’t functioning at full compacity. For instance, if you normally function around 70-100% when you are depressed it can be more like 15-30%. If you put the same expectations on yourself that you would do when you aren’t dealing with a depressive period then you are only setting yourself up for failure.
Set specific and small goals. This makes way for accomplishment which leads to a very good feeling. If you start to feel overwhelmed, stop and re-evaluate your expectations.
3. Go for a walk.
Exercising aids in the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones that make you feel good. Just getting outside and moving can really do wonders for fighting depression and can lead to feeling motivated.
4. Don’t overschedule and avoid negativity.
Do not overschedule. If you put too much on your plate, you can begin to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious which can lead to the tempting feeling of giving up. If you are only able to check one or two things off your to-do list, you need to be ok with this. Congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back for all accomplishments, no matter how small or inferior they might seem. This can improve your self-confidence and help you achieve motivation to do more tomorrow.
You are your thoughts. If you only feed your brain negatively you will breed negativity. Don’t allow yourself to be surrounded by negative people. People, friends or family, that continue to revisit sad topics or bask in depression with you are not going to be a positive impact for you. Negativity and negative people will drain your motivation.
When I am in a depression period, self-criticism goes hand in hand with my depression. Self-criticism and depression are best friends in the mental health world. If you continue to belittle yourself, you can cause yourself to be paralyzed with fear and doubt. Instead, imagine you are lifting a friend up. Use those same words you would use on a friend on yourself.
6. Ask for help and create a support network.
I can not stress this enough. ASK FOR HELP. Create a support network that you can call on at any time. Find a friend or family member that will hold you accountable and keep you moving forward. Find someone to go to that exercise class with you so that you can motivate each other. Do what you need to do to survive and thrive in this life. It is never a weakness to ask for help or admit that you can’t do something on your own.
This one has been huge for me this past year. I finally found a couple of moms that I really enjoy hanging out with and I really feel like I can trust them and depend on them. Their boys are in my son’s pre-k class. I have always been a stay at home mom, so my social life was less than stellar. It was really nice to be reminded this year that I am a good friend and someone that people want to hang out with.
I try to never say no when they invite me to lunch or the park because it always makes me feel so much better. Sometimes, I want to say no so bad and retreat back to my house with my boys, but I never regret saying yes and my spirit always feels revived.
8. Give yourself credit and acknowledge your courage.
As weird as it might sound, depression can create a comfort zone. With depression you know what to expect, you know what each day will bring when you give into your depression. So the thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and dealing with your depression head on can create some anxiety. Acknowledge the courage it takes to keep going. One step at a time. One day at a time. One small task at a time.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31