When you’re really depressed it can be hard to even get out of bed in the morning.
Or in the afternoon.
And folks who are struggling can use all the help they can get, especially from people who have been in their position before and can relate to their problems.
Folks on AskReddit talked about how they get motivated when they’re feeling depressed.
1. Give it a shot.
“It sounds silly, but when cleaning your kitchen is an insurmountable challenge because of depression, it helps to break it up into separate tasks.
You would be surprised what happens when the momentum builds.”
2. Don’t feel too pressured.
“I honestly just try to make the next hour, next few minutes, whatever amount of time, better for my future self.
Lots of “I’ll be glad I did this” even simple things like cleaning ONE mug at night so I don’t have to clean it for coffee & don’t feel SUPER pressured to just do all the dishes right when I wake up.”
3. Add it to the jar.
“I have a little mason jar, every time I do something, like eat breakfast, take a walk, I add a dinosaur to a jar, I also use this for self harm as well, if I haven’t hurt myself in a week, I get to add in some dinosaurs.
It makes me super happy when I drop in a dinosaur and hear it * clunk * together with the other ones.”
4. Above and beyond.
“I make myself go one notch above where I’m at mentally. If I’m feeling productive, I try to do as much as possible.
If I only feel like being a couch potato, I try to at least go for a walk or something. If I don’t want to leave the bed, I try to at least take a shower. Just one thing more than what I wanted to do. That usually then follows with “well I already did that, I may as well do this”.
And if I really have a day where I don’t want to get out of bed, well I give myself permission to do that too. Some times, that’s what I end up really needing.”
5. Good idea.
“Sounds stupid and super weird but silently imagine you’re being recorded for a tutorial or a time lapse for simple tasks.
I know it’s stupid but when I’m so down and everything I do seems so tedious I imagine this.
I describe what I’m doing in my mind as I’m doing it as if I’m teaching someone else.
It just makes it more entertaining to cook or do my daily routine.”
6. It’ll get better.
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.
A perfect example is brushing your teeth: Haven’t brushed your teeth in months? Just go to the sink, stick the toothbrush in your mouth, and scrub for a few seconds. Don’t aim for perfection, just give it a half-a**ed attempt for 5 seconds.
You’ll start to build a habit of brushing, and you’ll start to brush better every time.
And also, do things one step at a time. Getting out of bed does not equal you needing to clean the entire house, but maybe that coffee table needs to be tidied up a bit? Maybe toss the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, but it doesn’t need to be run today.
Point is, you’re doing things that have positive rewards to them. You’ll start to see those rewards as something you want more of. Eventually, cleaning will become less and less of a chore, and more about keeping the things you have clean and nice looking because you actually like them.
Wallowing in bed really is counterproductive, but wallowing in bed one day isn’t something to beat yourself up over. Learn to forgive yourself and keep reminding yourself that bad days are ok to have.
Things are going to get better.”
7. Might as well get moving.
“I have found a way to trick me into doing stuff: If I’m lying on the couch, basically feeling like complete s*t but I know I should rather go buy groceries and cook a meal I tell myself: I’m going to feel like sh*t no matter what.
If I continue lying here, I’ll feel like s**t, if I go buy groceries and cook, I’ll feel like s**t. The only difference is that doing stuff and being active will probably help me long term. So if I’ll feel sh**ty no matter what, I might as well do the thing that will help make me feel better eventually.
It kinda helps me to deal with the s**tty feeling and I can get myself to do the stuff I should be doing. Doesn’t work all the time but often enough.”
8. I am a robot…
“I pretend that I’m a robot to do very small singular tasks at a time.
I really get myself into the mindset that my own motivation doesn’t matter at all.”
9. Ten seconds.
“I just need to say, “stand there for ten seconds” is the absolute key to most tasks.
I realized that I did this while cooking with my husband. I do it every time Im about to tackle a project. I stand for 10 seconds and think about the tasks it takes to complete the project, and I create a game plan.
Yes, even for cleaning the kitchen. Especially for cleaning the kitchen.”
10. Appreciate the good stuff.
“Celebrating the little things. I’m currently trying to do “five a day”, and to non depressives they probably seem tiny but to me they are huge.
Like today I got showered, got dressed, made a lunch from scratch, went for a walk and put some laundry in the washer (bonus point, its hung up too!).
Whoo, successful day!”
“Minimize things you are responsible for. If you have a hard time keeping things clean – it is easier with less things.
I just had to do a huge skincare/makeup purge and I had been holding onto expired things and feeling guilty about the money I spent.
I forgave myself and threw it all out and then treated myself to the replacements. I’d rather spend more on things I care for and enjoy than have lots of mediocre stuff.”
12. Check it off.
“I find that check lists help me.
The act of writing them and getting to cross things off helps motivate me as well as hold me accountable without adding any anxiety or pressure.”
“I turn on the kitchen timer for 20-25 minutes and get as much done as possible. The rule is that I have to keep working and can’t sit down.
It’s amazing how much you can get done. I also give myself very small tasks and cross them off the list when I do them.”
14. It helps.
“Antidepressants. It isn’t for everyone but it helped me numb the feeling of being overwhelmed with so much to do.
Also I made it a point to make everyday a ‘no-zero day’. No matter what I will do at least 1 minute or 1 tiny push of my goal every single day.”
15. Get moving.
“Personally I’ve noticed the hardest part is always just getting out of bed. So to make that easier I’ll at least move to sitting up for a while.
I keep my phone charger on the other side of the room so when it dies I HAVE to get up. Once I’m up it’s like “might as well do the thing”.”
16. Good job!
“Sometimes I’ll give myself a “reward” after accomplishing something. For example, “If I do the dishes then I can eat this doughnut/watch a TV show”.
Even substituting or doing part of something helps a lot. I really don’t have the motivation to go to the gym somedays, so I do a shorter home workout instead, or if I feel too overwhelmed to fold all my laundry, I just fold some of it.”
17. You want to do this.
“I trick myself into thinking I want to do a thing.
Same way you might hype up a dog before going for a walk, but telling myself “oooo, time for a shower! Are you excited or what?!? How amazing it’s shower time, hooraaay! Go get your towel! Get your towel!
That hot water’s gonna feel soooooo good, go get it! Go get the shower!””
18. Whatever works.
“This is going to sound like a joke but I’m being 100% serious.
I wait until I need to pee, and since I’m up and about I decide I might as well get it done before I go back and get comfortable doing whatever non-productive thing I was doing beforehand.
This doesn’t really work well for stuff like university work, but for general household tasks it works wonders.”
19. Set aside some time.
“I’ll literally block out times to cry.
Like if I have s**t to do but just can’t, I’ll say okay get this done, then give yourself 8 minutes to cry and recompose, then take on the next thing.”
20. Less judgment.
“Instead of sitting there and berating myself with “Why can’t I get up,” I ask myself, “When will I get up?”
It takes the judgment out of it and removes a little bit of the pressure.
I also try not to punish myself for having a bad day. Instead of sitting there in silence, I’ll turn on a podcast.”
21. Baby steps.
“Do one thing for five minutes.
Set a timer and work on a task for five minutes.
After the five minutes, if you feel like you can keep going, do it.
If you don’t, get back in bed. At least I did something for five minutes.
It makes me feel better and much more likely to get up and work on it more later.”
“Since I don’t have much energy, I prioritize things.
The more important things like school, and cooking, and chores, I do when I have the most energy just to get it out of the way.
The little things like showering, and reading , and stuff like that, I usually do if I have energy. (I shower like every other day). I really try to focus on self care as well. I try to do one nice thing for myself once a week. I take my medicine. And sleep is a big one for me, I try to get 8+ hours of sleep per night.
I read self-help books a lot. Some days are worse than others but I really try to push through it .”
23. Be good to yourself.
“Be easier on yourself. Find a psychiatrist to assist in diagnosing any other potential mental health issues. Give medicine a try.
We don’t disparage others for needing glasses to read or wheelchairs to get around. Don’t feel bad about needing medication to function. Then get a psychologist to talk to about your struggles and allow them to give you suggestions as to how to cope.
Not only do I have depression, but I also have ADD and generalized anxiety disorder. This makes my cognitive functioning (ability to prioritize tasks) non existent. Most of the time my medications help, but with Covid lock downs, being constantly surrounded by my husband and kids, and without my usual alone time to recharge my emotional batteries, I’ve had a very difficult time with motivation to do anything.
Thankfully, my husband is very understanding and is as supportive as he himself can be. He constantly reminds me that this will pass, just like all my other dark times before, and that I need to be nicer to myself. Easier said than done, but he understands that too.”
How do you deal with your depression?
And how do you get motivated?
Talk to us in the comments. Thanks!