What are you supposed to do when simply getting off of the couch seems like a struggle, and you don’t even know when the last time you had a shower? This may be a combination of laziness and depression, and these tips are applicable to helping both struggles. What are you supposed to do when you would rather ignore all of the problems glaring at you than face them? There is no easy answer for this, but employ some of these tips to help you get on the right path to overcoming what is ailing you.
Ask For Help
Even when we are feeling at our best, it is difficult to hold ourselves accountable, and that only dwindles down to almost nothing when energy and motivation are lacking. Turn to someone that you trust and ask them for their help. This can be a partner or a friend and all they need to do is be able to tell you yes they will hold you accountable by doing things like joining you to go out.
Don’t Make Outrageous Goals
When depression hits, functionality stoops down to about 20% rather than somewhere in the normal range of 70 to 90%. Because of this, you cannot have the same expectations for yourself that you do when you were not feeling depressed. Set goals that are small and specific—put dishes away, start laundry, etc. Start with a single small task and if you are feeling okay after that, raise the bar with another (possibly larger) task. If you feel overwhelmed completing the task, it was likely too ambitious of a goal.
Don’t Forget to Eat
If you are in a rut of not leaving the couch or bed, you still need to nourish your body. Because you are doing this anyway, you should be nurturing your body with foods that are rich in vitamins or minerals. When you put junk into your body, it will not reward you with the energy that you desire, it will weigh you down. Herbal teas are a good choice of drinks, while snacks can include vegetables and fruits, meats, and cultured milk products.
Think About How You Will Feel After Completing a Task
Those who are depressed usually also have low self-efficacy, meaning that they have little confidence in their own ability to perform tasks, even the most mundane. Because of this, it can feel overwhelming thinking about doing the task, but the trick is to think about how you will feel after. Think about the refreshed you will be after a shower, the satisfaction of eating after preparing a meal, and even how awake you will feel after taking a short walk.
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This does not necessarily mean that you need to do something to break a sweat but physical activity is the simplest way to get out of a lazy or depressive mood. The only thing that you have to do is get up and start moving—not even leaving your home. You can do jumping jacks, lunges, or even crunches all in your own home. If you are aware that you are being lazy, which sends you into a down-spin, try to just get up and start walking or running outside.
Be Mindful of Your Inner Dialogue
The way that we talk to ourselves has a significant impact on how we feel and how we act. You should be challenging your negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Rather than thinking that “today will be long” or “today will be hard”, tell yourself that “there is so much to be grateful for” or “today will be go smooth”. Transforming negative thoughts into positive thoughts will shift your mood from lazy or defeated to happy and optimistic.
The things around you will influence how you feel. A messy house may lend to a feeling of being overwhelmed—this is because clutter translates to chaos. When surroundings are organized and cleaned, it will give a natural feeling of motivation. When dealing with depression, it isn’t always easy to get started, but looking at it as one small task as a time rather than a huge undertaking will allow for things to be done in increments, as you pace yourself.
Choose Relaxation Techniques Wisely
Some people are able to relax successfully by cruising around the internet or having a binge on a television series. The reality of this is that these activities will actually mentally exhaust you rather than allow you to recharge. Things like meditation, light reading, painting, and things of that nature are all great alternatives.
Choose Your Inner Circle Wisely
Surround yourself with people that you know will respect how you feel, but will encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone and get out of a rut. If you are surrounded by people who are enabling negative behavior, it will not help the depression to go away, and may only exacerbate it.
Acknowledge Your Strength for Taking Small Steps
Those who have been battling depression know what to expect from it, and setting goals or taking a step out of the comfort zone can be exhausting just thinking about it. When the time comes that you are able to complete small tasks, even if mundane, you should be congratulating yourself. It is likely that you experienced great amounts of anxiety, so do the task at hand and acknowledge that you are moving forward out of depression and hopefully back in to your normal routine and life.
Depression can squash all motivation, focus, and interest in things that you have once loved. You have the power to put yourself on the path to getting back into the groove that you were used to. These tips can help to jumpstart the now dimmed light in your eye that is your life. It will not happen overnight, but when you make the conscious effort to turn your attitude and live around, the only thing in your way becomes your own self.