May is Mental Health Awareness Month–a time to share mental wellness tools and information to help people thrive. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions; it impacts millions of people each year. Licensed mental health counselor, Jacqueline Pearce, shares strategies for managing your motivation levels when depressed.
Depression is a mental and emotional state where you may feel it’s the end for you. You are highly de-motivated, upset, and surrounded by negativity.
Depression can get worse if not treated. With that said, people with depression may feel they are just too sad to get help. Hence, they don’t seek out treatment, leading to worsening of the condition.
Symptoms of Depression
Before you look at possible treatments of depression, it is important to determine if it is depression or just a temporary phase where you are utterly de-motivated and emotionally strained.
Symptoms of depression include:
- You stop taking interest in activities which you normally enjoy
- You face difficulty sleeping or sleep excessively
- Changes in appetite (either you don’t feel like eating at all or you eat excessively)
- Irritability or restlessness
- You find it hard to concentrate
- Low self-esteem
- A sense self-unworthiness
- Suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases)
6 Ways to Get Motivated When Depressed
The major reason why a person continues to feel depressed is a lack of motivation. They lack the motivation to work, meet new people, laugh, eat, or even the motivation to get better. They may give up on themselves and end up isolating themselves from things that gave them pleasure.
Here are some strategies that can help you feel more motivated, even when you’re depressed:
1. Feed Positivity to Your Brain
Your brain follows what you tell it and not the other way around. The best way to keep yourself motivated is to keep telling your brain to stay active and motivated. Display motivational quotes around your room, in the bathroom, or anywhere you go when you wake up. The more you tell your brain something repeatedly, the more it will be conditioned that way.
Make exercise a part of your routine. Exercising releases endorphins which bring about feelings of happiness. Exercising for 35 minutes at least 5 days a week can help you make feel lighter and happier, and significantly improve the symptoms of depression.
3. Avoid Over-Scheduling
Desperation to get a lot of things done in a short span of time would do you no good. When you won’t be able to finish off any task, it will cause further de-motivation. If you can only manage one to two tasks, it is perfectly alright. Do not over-schedule and over-burden yourself. It would only put you under unnecessary stress. The lesser tasks you take up, the more likely you are to complete them, and hence, you’ll feel more motivated.
4. Avoid Negativity
Sometimes you don’t realize it, but certain activities and people can be toxic for you. Surfing the internet, spending too much time on social media, and talking to people with a negative mindset can leave you drained. This can have a drastic impact on your mood and also have an effect on your motivation level. Try to avoid spending time with people who give out negative vibes and also avoid participating in activities that have adverse effects on your motivation level.
5. Stick to Routine
Make a list of all the tasks you have to accomplish in a day and stick to the routine. By checking off the tasks completed, you can feel motivated by your accomplishments. Moreover, you will be able to judge your threshold this way, and you can increase the number of tasks to perform each day gradually.
Socializing with close and uplifting friends is very important. When you go out and spend time with friends, you give yourself an opportunity to lighten your mood and forget your worries for some time. This not only brightens up your mood, but also motivates you to start the next day with greater self-esteem and higher spirits.
Keeping yourself motivated when you are feeling depressed may not be easy, but you are the only one who has control over yourself. When there is a will, there is a way. Working with a therapist or counselor can also help you manage symptoms of depression and increase your motivation.
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