Depression is a difficult illness for even the most iron-willed of individuals. Whether you’re clinically depressed or just in a rut, depression can make basic tasks like cleaning the house, taking a shower and even getting out of bed incredibly difficult and physically and mentally draining. It is important to stay motivated to continue to live your life and work towards feeling better, even when you’re at your lowest point. Here are some simple ways that you can motivate yourself on a daily basis:
• Don’t be too harsh with yourself. It’s going to take time to get things done like you used to and to feel like your old self. Changes are not going to happen overnight, so don’t be overly critical of yourself if you make mistakes or don’t get as much done as you’d like. You’re having a hard enough time without getting on your own case.
• Be realistic. Making a laundry list of things to do is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Start with small positive changes and work from there. If you’re not realistic you’ll just end up frustrated and more depressed.
• Surround yourself with people. While you may just want to curl up and be alone, this isn’t the best or easiest route for you when you’re depressed. Having others around you to give you a helping hand, talk to you and provide you with inspiration is important to feeling better and getting back into the swing of things, even if you feel like you just want to shut everyone out.
• Move around. Lying in bed all day or hunkering down on the couch isn’t going to do much but give you more time to feel bad about things. When you force yourself to get up, even if only for a short walk or to tend to some plants outside, you’ll be helping yourself feel better physically and mentally.
• Start a project. For many, this may seem like that last thing they want to do but an enjoyable project can give you something to concentrate on that will bring your thoughts away from depression and give you something to feel proud of when you’re done.
• Make a plan. If even the smallest tasks seem like a chore, start small with planning out what you’re going to do each day. In the morning, write down the things you’d like to accomplish and in the evening, go back and check off what you did. This can help you regain your sense of control over your life at a time when it seems the most chaotic.
Recovering from depression is a hard road, but with some planning and slow but steady progress you may be able to start feeling optimistic about your life again. For a list of more great depression resources, click here.