After all, Depression kills motivation, energy, interest, and focus. Once you start it is usually easier but until then how do we connect the starter cables to make spark?
1. Don't go overboard with the goals
When you are depressed you are not functioning at your usual 70-90%. If you set the same expectations for yourself when you were not feeling depressed, you will feel anxious and overwhelmed, and you will probably not get to fulfill the task that you expect of yourself (which will make you feel defeated and ashamed).
SolutionSet small and specific objects. Really. Empty the dishwasher. Wash 3 dishes. Task finished and wanting more? You can always set more complex goals if you feel motivated. Keep in mind that if you feel overwhelmed, your goal is most likely too high and you have to lower it to a more realistic and specific one. 2. Practice self-compassion
Self-criticism is Depression's best friend. If you fight with yourself for being so “unproductive” and “lazy” you will feel terrible and therefore, you will paralyze yourself. Instead try saying the same words of encouragement that you would say to a friend or loved one.
3. Recruit support and ask for help
Lean on someone you trust and ask for help. Ask a friend to hug your commitment. Ask your partner if they will accompany you to yoga class. Invite her to a massage for 2 and give you a relaxing morning.
4. Visualize how you will feel after homework
Taking a shower, going for a walk, preparing food, or going out with a friend seems like a daunting task if you focus on the effort involved.
People who are depressed generally have low self-efficacy, which means they have little confidence in their ability to perform tasks. They tend to feel overwhelmed and confused and avoid these types of tasks. Lower your expectations of yourself on the task and imagine how you will feel after the task and not during the task.
5. Fulfill your goal by doing it, not by enjoying it
When you feel depressed, you lose interest in the things that used to make you happy. Sport is no longer fun, watching movies is already fun, and meeting friends is no longer attractive. Anxiety, depression, and self-hatred take over, leading to feelings of detachment and defeat. So when you do something "fun" do it with the goal of doing it, not to enjoy it.
6. Recognize your courage to step out of your comfort zone
As painful as it is, the Depression can turn into a comfortable "acquaintance baddie." You know what to expect for the most part. You know the pain, you know that you are suffering, and you can predict that tomorrow will be more of the same. The thought of stepping out of this comfort zone can be quite an exhilarating desire. Steven Hayes, a psychologist whose work I admire, said, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you're always going to get what you've always gotten." If you are capable of doing something (no matter how small) different, congratulate yourself.
Keep in mind:There is a high probability that whatever it is you are experiencing will come with anxiety, because anxiety accompanies uncertainty. Anxiety may be telling you that you are getting out of the familiar routine of Depression, so acknowledge your courage and try to experience as many things as you can on your journey outside of your comfort zone. What do you do to motivate yourself when you feel depressed? Is there something that gives you energy back?
Share your thoughts and reflections by leaving a comment. I, as always, wait for you in the next one. A big greeting and a hug, Andrea.
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- How to get motivated when you're not in the mood to do anything