One of the most difficult things a depressed person can do is to motivate himself/herself. During the depression period even the simplest tasks seem to take maximum effort.
Some it may fell lazy to make meals, clean up at home, take showers, or even get out of bed.
Navigating motivation when depressed can be challenging because the instinct is to wait for the energy to return. People who are depressed often fall into the psychological trap. You will want to stay in bed for a few days, you will wait to be re-energized and recharged.
You are believing you’ll have exorcised the depression demons by just “going with it”.
Sadly, it’s not usually as simple as this.
If everybody tried to wait out their depressive periods, some people would stay in bed for 10 years.
Many people manage to change their mindset with small, manageable, behavioral steps.
This allows them to change the whole experience of depression.
So let’s look at some steps that can help you break an episode of depression and motivate yourself.
Opposite Action — In Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, Opposite Action is the idea of forcing yourself to do something that you know is good for you, in order to avoid the reinforcement of a bad habit.
For example, if you want to lay in bed and watch tv all day, opposite action would say to get up and go out, knowing it would be a healthier behavior. It’s very much a “just to the opposite of your unhealthy urge” technique. Main principle is that your behaviors can create positive changes in your emotions.
Go Outside — Leaving the house is one of the toughest steps for people who struggle with depression. One of the problems with this step is that people are easily held back by not having a place to go. “Okay, I can go outside…..but then what I will do?”
So for this step, is ok to not have a place to go.
Just, go outside, close the door behind you, and do whatever comes to mind. Walk around the block, closest market, getting in your car and driving on an errand, and so on. It can be anything or nothing at all, but the goal is to spend at least 15 minutes outside before going back in.
Start exercising — Exercising can influence the emotions and the way you fell. If you don’t have a lot of time, or money to pay for gym, I recommend T25. This is home exercise developed by the founder of Insanity, which last for only 25 minutes.
Daily Necessity Schedule — This schedule strategy is if you’re having trouble to motivate yourself to do your daily activities, such as cooking, eating, showering, meting up with clients etc. For this, you’re creating a work or daily home schedule. This will help you get your daily necessities actually functioning on a daily basis.
Go out with your friends or family — This one is more about the people than the activity but is consider as very important. Being around other people is often helpful for mood improvement. Scheduling dinner with your friends or family, with a glass of wine sounds good to me during depression time, right?
The more you can remove yourself from home, the better chance of overcoming it.
Psychotherapy — It’s important to keep in mind that the desire to stay inside and lay around isn’t what causes depression, it is the main symptom of depression.
Psychotherapy remains a necessary step in order to motivate yourself and go throughout the process of dealing with long term depression. This will help you to prevent further episodes and to motivate yourself.
Even if we can resolve some of the issues through pushing ourselves to take behavioral steps, the internal issues that are causing the depression still need to be addressed. Otherwise, the depression may return if we don’t have a handle on the underlying issues.
By engaging in psychotherapy, you’re able to give appropriate attention to what’s happening inside of you.
You do have the power to increase your motivation and to break out of depression. It may take some effort, but the opportunity is there for you to reclaim your life.