If you feel your depression is hitting you really hard or you are having suicidal thoughts please seek help from a health professional immediately. Find a list of US, UK and Ireland contacts at the end of this article.
Living with depression isn’t easy and knowing how to motivate yourself when you are depressed is even harder. It comes in many forms and affects 16.2 million adults (6.7% of the adult population) and 3.1 million teenagers, aged 12-17 years old, in the US alone.
But what is depression?
Ever feel you can’t catch a break, it’s just one bad thing after another or a general long-time low mood? That could be depression. It’s classified a mood disorder, that affects how a person thinks, feels and acts.
And the tricky part is it’s not like a cold where the symptoms are the same for every person, so time to get rid of those stereotypes of black clothes, tears, and Morrissey songs.
Depression presents itself in a variety of ways – anxiety, low mood, lack of motivation, or even no outward symptoms at all – and sometimes, out of stigma, it’s completely hidden.
Finding motivation in depression
Don’t get it wrong, this isn’t a ‘stop being depressed and get motivated’ piece, if I had that cure I’d be a millionaire, just some helpful hints to keep things a little positive with these 10 tips to help you regain a little bit of yourself.
Top 10 motivation tips for depression
1. Take it one second at a time
Start by taking a deep breath. Done? Good. When you’re depressed thinking too far ahead can be an internal film-reel of ‘what will go wrong today?’ The first step is to curb those negative thought processes and take life one second at a time.
2. Just get dressed
Sometimes just waking up is the toughest thing in the world, especially after a peaceful night of insomnia. Which is why the next tip is simple – JUST GET DRESSED.
3. Set reasonable goals
Of course, we’re all looking to achieve big things in our lives. But forget that for a moment. Go back to tip № 1. Set yourself small tasks, whether it’s to go to work, get your laundry done, or something else, start with small tasks, and work your way up. Then the big ones won’t seem so giant.
4. Keep fit, keep healthy
No need to try and be a sports model, unless you want to, in that case, more power to you! But keeping fit and healthy is the foundation of a healthy mind. Exercise has been proven to ease the symptoms of depression, so once you get motivated to start, you’ll really feel the benefits of those endorphins.
5. Take naps!
When you’re sleep patterns are interrupted, it can leave you feeling groggy all day, add that in combination to your symptoms, and you got a problem. Try to regulate your sleep patterns by going to bed at a suitable time, setting your phone as far away as possible, taking naps when needed and relaxing before you even think about bed.
6. Go out, have fun!
Another tough one. You really would rather hide under that blanket, wouldn’t you? It’s cozy, it’s safe. But staying in hibernation like a bear just isn’t good for you. It does take a bit self-control, but call your friends and get out. Even if ‘having fun’ isn’t on the cards, being around people can help get you out of your head.
7. But take time for yourself too
A little backtracking. While months long hibernation isn’t exactly a superb idea, taking a little time for self-care is. If you need a little alone time to breath, relax, get your hair done, read a book, whatever – don’t be afraid, grab it! And don’t apologize! Self-care is the key in how to stay motivated after depression too.
8. Give yourself some credit
You’ve got this, you must be doing something right. As humans, we’re naturally designed to look at our flaws and replay what we did wrong. It’s time to change that! Without being prideful, it is time to sit down, and even write a list, of all the things you did right, all your successes and wins. Perhaps, you’ll realize there’s a lot more there than you thought there was.
9. Ask for help when you need it
Getting motivated is great, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Talk to friends, family, or someone you trust. Sharing how you feel can lighten the emotional load, and give you a little boost that someone out there just gets it.
10. Do whatever it takes
Time to put it all together, I never said it wouldn’t be hard work. Motivation for depressed people is never easy. The main thing is to just keep trying, do whatever it takes to get there, provided it’s not dangerous to your health. Alcohol, drugs and smoking – not solutions.
What to do if you need help right now
If you feel you are having a mental health emergency, please reach out to one of the following professionals, they can help you:
In the US
- Call 911 and tell them you’re at risk. You won’t be in any trouble, they will help you get to the nearest hospital, where you will be assessed and receive the help you need.
- Contact the Samaritans on (877) 870-4673, or if you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can text them via their website.
- Get in touch with your local doctor.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
In the UK and Ireland
- Get to your local A&E (accident and emergency department).
- Call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance, they will take you to A&E where you will be assessed by a health professional and receive help.
- Contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (Ireland), email them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via their website.