In the wake of healing your mental health it’s so important to have something that motivates you. Without motivation there’s no drive, no movement forward and you remain stuck in a vicious circle. It’s nowhere near as easy as to just flick a switch to change your moods, but there are ways to slowly find that spark within again.
Before you do anything it’s a good idea to ask yourself if all your basic needs are met. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you make sure to hydrate throughout the day? Are you getting any sort of exercise done? Even if it’s just a 5-minute session of stretching. Set the bar low. It’s ok. You need to start somewhere.
Easier said than done, right? But the only way to get anywhere is to simply start. There’s no way around it. As I just said, set the bar low to make sure you’re not getting overwhelmed and discouraged in case you run into trouble early on. Strive to complete simple tasks such as just taking a shower, getting yourself dressed or unloading the dishwasher and raise the bar as you go. If you do feel very overwhelmed by a task, take note that it might be a goal set too high and you need to lower it to something that is more realistic at that point in time.
2. Ask for help or support
In times of trouble it can be crucial to have people around you who help and support you. This isn’t something that comes naturally to many though. A lot of people who suffer from mental illness are ashamed or feel like they don’t deserve the support. However, that is not true. We all deserve to be happy and to feel great. Having a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable is also a good idea. That way you’re more likely to actually get started and work through the goals you set up for yourself.
3. Be kind to yourself, always
There is nothing more destructive than self-loath and criticism. Calling yourself “lazy” and “unproductive” is counter-productive, and will make you feel worse and thus, incapacitate you further. Instead, imagine that you are speaking to a loved one, or a much younger self. What would you tell them? Most likely not how lazy they are.
4. A good bribe
Don’t laugh now, but really, what works better than a good bribe? Visualize how much better you’ll be feeling after that shower, or after that cup of tea or coffee. If you sit up in bed, you can check your phone. If you get out of bed, you can have that refreshing shower. If you go to work, you can have coffee. Just the knowing you didn’t spend all day in bed, and actually did something, will encourage you to continue the good job you’re doing.
5. Find a reason
Now, this is a tricky one as I know that nobody would voluntarily lay in bed with depression and anxieties if it was just that easy to get over it. However, I do believe that having something to do in the days will help motivate you to get out of bed. Maybe actually sit down and write that to-do list of simple tasks down on paper? By doing this you get a sense of achievement as you’re crossing them off one by one, and the mere knowing that the day wasn’t entirely wasted is almost worthy of celebration. Another idea is to plan something to do that usually brings you a lot happiness and do your best to follow through with it. Maybe even start studying a new language, start up a blog (that’s what I did!), or why not try out a free online course in a subject that interest you? Start volunteering? But in baby-steps, of course.
6. You are courageous, acknowledge that
Staying in your depression is safe. You know what to expect, you know the pain as an old friend, and you’re sure to know that tomorrow is likely to be the same. If you do what you’ve always done, nothing is going to change. You need to do something different, even if it’s just in small steps at the time. And I know, stepping out of your comfort zone can be incredibly scary, and you’re courageous for taking the steps. Even just reading this article shows that you’re interested in a way out even if you haven’t begun your journey just yet. Good on you!
Depression has no quick fix, but I’m hoping some of these tips will strike a chord within sombody out there and help them find the motivation to make the right changes in their lives. What are your own experiences? Do you have something else to add to the list? Please let me know in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!