How to Find Motivation when You’re Feeling Down or Depressed.
Today, while organizing my computer documents, I found this short article. It was written when I was going through a difficult time last year. It’s strange taking a glimpse into the thoughts of your past – to see how much things change or how far you’ve come. The advice that I wrote back then still rings true. I’m publishing it now in celebration of the lovely snow falling over Dallas. Brrr. So many people complain about cold weather, but I love it. Happy excuses for warm drinks, comfy blankets, and Netflix (House of Cards season three, anyone?). Cheers to Friday!
An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion
A cold front came in today, and straight after work I found myself bundled up in my room. After a short cry, I napped and woke up with zero motivation to do anything. I canceled plans on a friend, determined to stay enveloped in my feather duvet for the remainder of the afternoon. A small voice at the back of my head told me that this was probably not the best decision. But when I experimented with ideas to be proactive, each activity seemed like it would require way too much energy:
Yoga, nope. Running, nope. Writing, nope.
Contemplating baking, I finally settled on something that I knew would make me feel better with very little effort – lighting a candle. Before I got out of bed, I focused on the way I would feel when I accomplished it. This catapulted me from lighting a candle, to cleaning my apartment, to baking candied almonds and apple chips. My mood lifted, and although it wasn’t by any means at 100% percent, it was better.
Some days it’s EXTREMELY difficult to find the motivation to do ordinary tasks. The lure of a soft, warm bed can sound infinitely better than being active, no less social. It’s in these times that it’s usually the most important to get up and moving. Although it’s an accomplishment to do the big things, the little things can make us feel good too.
Challenge yourself to find and complete the smallest actions that will take the least amount of effort to bring you happiness. An object in motion stays in motion – doing anything, no matter how minuscule, can cause a chain reaction. But you have to begin somewhere.
Here is a list for inspiration to get you started:
1. Light a candle
2. Read a book
5. Yoga or gentle stretches
6. Sitting meditation
7. Listen to music
8. Light cleaning
10. Phone/text a friend
12. Take a bath
13. Cuddle with a loved one or pet
14. Make some tea
What else would you add?
Back to the present. In retrospect, lighting a candle seems so insignificant. But during this time, doing the simplest things were gargantuan tasks in my eyes. I can’t begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of heaviness I felt in these moments and how much I had to talk myself into doing things. Which is why I now stress the importance of at least attempting to do minimal-effort activities especially if you’re going through depression.
It’s so hard, and it might not seem like it, but you CAN do it. A little effort can go a long way and give you the momentum you need to accomplish things – whether it’s doing your laundry or getting the courage to make that first doctor’s appointment.