When you’re feeling down it can be hard to find motivation. Sometimes to even do the basics.
Greasy, unbrushed hair.
Living in your pyjamas.
Your best friend = your blanket, a dimly lit room and Netflix.
Toast or crisps for dinner.
Sometimes it’s even too hard to do the essentials like get out of bed to get a drink of water or go to the toilet.
Or is that just me?
So how do you find motivation when you’re feeling down?
Give your body and mind what it needs
When you’re depressed it’s especially important to practice self-care even though it feels like such a chore!
I know when I’m down it’s tough to think about feeding myself, let alone jumping in the shower to wash my hair. Give me trackies, a top knot, the couch, a bag of crisps and the TV and I’m set…
Okay, I don’t make the healthiest of choices when I am down!
When you are feeling depressed, take some time out to think about what YOU really need.
Is it a couch day? Chocolate? Sleep? A long hot shower? A hug? A day off work? A walk in the fresh, open air? A meditation retreat? It could be the smallest of things. It doesn’t matter. Take the time to give your body and mind what it needs.
Here’s a bunch of ideas in case you are stuck.
To help you identify what you need let’s chunk it down to three areas of need: mental, physical and spiritual.
Is there anything calling out to you that may ease your anguish, make you laugh (or cry), or bring peace of mind – even if it’s only for half an hour?
Perhaps you need some time off to gain mental clarity. This could be in the form of a ‘mental health day’ to take you away from the daily grind, even if that means sitting on the couch or sleeping for hours. Or it could be a weekend getaway with friends, with lots of wine, deep and meaningfuls, tears, laughs and cuddles.
Can you think of anything that will make you feel good physically at the moment?
What about a gentle 10-minute yoga session from the comfort of your own lounge room? As often is the case, you may not feel up to leaving the house, so hit up You Tube for some gentle instructional videos. I particularly like those by Yoga TX as the instructors are down to earth and the videos are super easy to follow.
If you are up for leaving the house, a slow walk along the beach, taking in the fresh air, letting it blow the cobwebs from your brain, is highly recommended.
I’m not religiously inclined, and even though I’ve dabbled in meditation and am the queen of self-help books, my spiritual needs are often an afterthought to my detriment.
More often than not I feel spiritually sucked dry from giving and giving, kinda like a shrivelled up prune.
If you are anything like me then you need to set yourself reminders to meditate and to be mindful. This often comes in the form of post it notes scattered around the house (‘wash the dishes to wash the dishes’ rather than ‘wash the dishes to analyse your life, worry about what so and so said, and to plan world domination’). As a side note they are also good for my hubby, once he realises what they are for.
I also need to constantly remind myself of what I want and don’t want in life as well as my values and priorities. When I’m living aligned to my values, when I’m being the real authentic me, then I feel more in tune with the universe and spiritually happier.
Set yourself small obtainable goals
When you’re depressed, things like plans and goals can be so overwhelming (yep, all of that adult stuff)!
When I’m down in the dumps, sometimes the mere thought of tomorrow can be exhausting, and then the anxiety kicks in…
Take the overwhelm out of living and ditch the long-term goals and plans for now, focussing on small obtainable goals (and I mean small). They can be as simple as:
- Getting out of bed
- Brushing your teeth
- Taking a shower
- Washing your hair
- Eating breakfast
- Going for a walk
- Driving to the shop to buy groceries
- Eating a hearty meal
- Calling your mum
Just remember to take baby steps! Rome wasn’t conquered in a day, and neither will your depression be.
Generally our brains are chock full of ‘stuff’.
Plans. Goals. Things to do. Worries.
Call me crazy but I love lists.
I find lists a great way to keep track of ideas, plans and goals. Lists are also a useful tool to help remove unnecessary clutter from your mind. There’s also a certain satisfaction associated with ticking things off a list, providing a sense of achievement.
At the end of each day allocate 10 minutes to sit down and write what you’d like to carry out the next day. This will get everything out of your brain so you can sleep better and wake up with a sense of clarity; ‘What am I going to do today? Well, here’s something I prepared earlier!’
Taking it one step further, why not give each item a rating. It could be something as simple as an ‘excitement’ (i.e. excitement + to downright boring) or ‘urgency’ rating (i.e. really important to who cares!). This will help you narrow down either what really needs to be done or what will be most enjoyable and help you get through the day!
Ask for help and/or guidance
Firstly, I need you to know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Secondly, don’t feel ashamed (even though this is somewhat of a natural response when it comes to depression – ‘what is wrong with me’, ‘I’ve failed’, ‘I’m not good enough’, etc.).
Asking for help can be a struggle, and again, if you are anything like me it’s when times are tough you become stubborn as a mule… Yet it’s during times like these you need to pull on your big girl pants, suck it up like a princess, and speak up.
In a nutshell, never feel ashamed to reach out and seek help or ask for guidance. There are so many avenues available these days to suit every type of person (extrovert to introvert and more), and with the increasing amount of resources available on the www you never need to feel alone. Alternatively, text someone. Pick up the phone. Send an email or a message. Book in to see your GP or a councillor. Or even check out an anonymous chatrooms hosted by one of the many amazing mental health support organisations worldwide.
If all else fails, ask someone for a hug. Hugs are so underrated!
If you or someone you love needs help on depression and you are based in Australia, check out the following organisations for further information and help:
- Lifeline 13 11 14 (National 24/7 Crisis Services – Australia)
- Talk to a GP or health professional
- beyondblue: the national depression initiative 1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue.org.au
Black Dog Institute www.blackdoginstitute.com.au
Health direct Australia www.healthdirect.gov.au/anxiety-symptoms-and-signs
Be kind on yourself
When it feels like the world is against you, the last thing you need is for your inner critic to become all ‘mean girl’ on your ass.
What you do need is your own personal cheer squad!
Pay yourself some kindness, stop beating yourself up, and put an end to putting yourself down. Now is the time to talk yourself up, nurture your mind and body, and to most importantly love you.
Here’s a guide to using positive affirmations – they might just help!
Acknowledge how far you have come
You’ve been through a hell of a lot. And at times it has all felt way too tough. But you have survived! And admittedly, the future will also be full of challenges, but you’ve got this. You will get through it. You will continue to survive. Queue the Destiny’s Child anthem.
(Every time I write ‘you’re a survivor’ the Destiny’s Child anthem jumps into my head – go with it!).
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