For many people who struggle with depression, your productivity and motivation are the first things to go out the window. Tiny things become huge obstacles when you have no motivation. Struggling to wake up and get out of bed becomes the norm.
I know what it feels like. Small tasks becoming huge, overwhelming jobs that feel impossible. And yes, maybe I’ve been wearing the same socks for three days because putting some clothes in to wash feels like running a marathon.
No judgments, please.
When depression steals your productivity and life, healing involves going back to basics. And I mean basics… When you have spent so long unable to get out of bed or even brush your teeth, it is hard to find your motivation again, but it is not impossible. Below are the three steps I took to finding my motivation and becoming productive again despite battling depression.
Please note that you cannot beat depression by forcing yourself to do things and go about your day like everything is normal. Depression is an illness that requires professional help. Please use my tips and advice once you are feeling more able alongside advice from medical professionals. Click here for more information.
Get enough sleep, but not too much.
Before my depression and anxiety, I used to joke about wanting to fall asleep for days or even weeks when I was tired, I didn’t realize what that feeling was actually like. I struggled to get out of bed and I spent most of my days sleeping, only waking up to eat and pee.
My mood and body both craved sleep and I ultimately fell into the cycle of sleeping too much. I still struggle with this. I find myself wanting to sleep for 10-12 hours but I’m better than before.
A huge factor in getting back your productivity is your sleep schedule. AKA, you need one.
Yep, that’s right, we’re going back to being 8 years old and having strict bedtime routines. As absurd as it sounds, I promise you’ll thank me.
If you are like me and find yourself sleeping too much, you need to cut it back. The average adult need is 7-9 hours a night so we’re going to aim for that.
How do I get into a healthy sleep routine?
I don’t want you to make any drastic changes. If you find your sleeping 14 hours a day then don’t suddenly half it down to 7, that’s not healthy. Dial it back half an hour every week. Put your alarm at the other end of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Do this until you get to your desired length of sleep and make sure you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Your body will eventually become used to this new routine.
If you’re the opposite and don’t get enough sleep, the same still stands. You need a sleep schedule as well but first, you have to exhaust yourself. Tire your body and your mind during the day and sleep will start to come naturally on a night. If you are not used to exercising (like me) then don’t overdo it. Start with walking, then running, swimming or biking. Whatever takes your fancy but make sure you are tired. You’ll start to sleep better and as a bonus, exercise is good for your mental wellness.
If you are not a huge fan of exercising in public, I recommend checking out Yoga With Adriene on Youtube. She makes videos filming Yoga routines for specific needs including depression, anxiety, and sleep. I find that Yoga helps when I feel restless and I am struggling to sleep.
Find a cheerleader
This one isn’t going to be easy if you live by yourself but we will come to that.
Take your partner, family member or friend and tell them that you’re trying to become more productive. If you can, share your goals with them and ask them if they’ll keep you accountable. They’ll become your cheerleader, keeping you motivated when you can feel yourself slipping.
Pro-tip. Don’t overdo it. If you are having a seriously bad mental health day, explain to them. Take things easier and focus on smaller, easier tasks. This will help you still feel a sense of accomplishment.
Don’t have anyone that can help keep you keep motivated? Join the Self Love Circle and receive access to our FREE Facebook group with like-minded people who will be your cheerleaders.
Find your passion
What do you love to do? What fills you with excitement? And if it doesn’t now, what did before?
Becoming passionate about something again will fill your mind and help you channel the energy that your body needs. Your passion will help you wake up and yes, you might not feel like it every day and that’s okay. Healing is not linear and some days will be bad but eventually, the good days will become more common.
My therapist recommended I take up a hobby that excited me. For a long time, I couldn’t think of anything. I loved art but it brought up too many negative memories from school. Then it hit me.
I started with small projects at first and eventually opened my own Etsy shop. Sewing became my motivation and gave me the desire to get out of bed every day. Eventually, this hobby that was simply meant to be a healthy distraction led to me working part-time in a small clothing shop and designing my own baby clothing and accessories.
Take some time to find what motivates you and channel a bit of energy into it every day
What are your hobbies and healthy distractions? Let us know in the comments below!