How to get stuff done when you are depressed
Posted on 10th April 2021 at 23:26
When we feel depressed, we often also feel overwhelmed, tired and demotivated and the simplest tasks seem impossible or too difficult to achieve. As we then balk at or stop doing our tasks, chores or even getting out of bed our self-esteem takes a nosedive and we feel less in control than ever.
So, here’s some creative strategies to help get you going again.
Three key factors that need to be addressed:
Plan in advance for the next time you're going to feel lethargic, overwhelmed and demotivated: When you do this, you need to think about your symptoms. And the strategies that will work for you.
What are your symptoms?
Loss of appetite
Sleeping too much or Not enough
Outbursts of anger
or something else
Write yours down.
So, when we recognise our depressive symptoms rearing their heads - we need to proactively spring into action.
So, what do you need to give you a boost and get you going again?
To be with your family
Time speaking with your friends,
Some space to read,
Listening to music
Motivational YouTube videos
ASMR like Ozley on YouTube who will comfort you when you feel Anxious or Depressed.
Going outside into the Light? Sunshine
Watching a funny, uplifting film
Talking to your Therapist
See our Self Soothing Tool for ideas.
The best defence is a good offence.
This is being able to understand what is most important and more pressing so you can block out all the other distractions that will be overwhelming and focussing only on what is immediately important only.
Keep a to-do list and give tasks a score dependent on when they are due:
Things that must be done today 4*
Sometime this week 2*
Next Week 1*
When you are not at your best then only aim to tackle 4* tasks on the do list for today and in total, I suggest you ignore anything that is less than three stars urgency.
Say ‘No’ to non-essential tasks
So, eating and handing in that important report may be essential but seeing a friend or attending something that could be postponed is a non-essential task.
When we say yes to everything, we amplify our stress.
Tasks can also be marked with a difficulty score of 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1 Difficulty task score 1 (Easy) e. g eating breakfast or taking a shower
Level 2 Difficulty task score 2 (Moderate) e.g. You decide what this would be for you
Level 3 Difficulty task score 3 (Difficult) e. g Scheduling an appt/ finishing a report
When depressed. I recommend you focus on all difficult level one tasks, first, so that you don't feel overwhelmed and feel that you're making some progress.
Tick each one off as you go along, you'll feel more empowered and prouder of yourself. This feeling often boosts you to go on to the level two, difficulty tasks.
Slowly step by step do one task at a time until you reach level three tasks.
Now, level three difficulty tasks. The best way to handle these is to break them down into level one tasks. E.g., If you can't face a 30-minute exercise session could you commit to say 10 minutes. Often when we commit to less, we end up doing a little bit more.
Anyway, I hope you find this helpful. Also, watch out for any negative self-talk sabotaging you as you celebrate your successes. I recommend this affirmation to counteract them:
‘I am being the best I can be today’
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