How to Stay Motivated When You’re Depressed

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How to Stay Motivated When You’re Depressed

How to Stay Motivated When You're Depressed

Anyone suffering from depression knows how difficult it can be to be productive. Battling this mental illness can take a toll on your motivation levels. Finding the motivation to maintain productivity when you are depressed can be a real struggle. Some days may be easier than others.

This post will cover how depression affects motivation and offers tips on staying motivated and being productive when you’re depressed.

What does depression look like?

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that affects your mood. It causes intense, long-lasting feelings of sadness that can keep you from leading a normal life.

Depression symptoms

Depression is not the same as sadness. However, individuals with a major depressive disorder suffer from deep, overwhelming feelings of sadness. These feelings impact the person’s everyday life, both physically and mentally. 

The most common symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Memory issues
  • Crankiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss or weight gain

How depression affects motivation

Depression does not just affect your mood or emotions. It also affects your focus, productivity, and general functioning

Depression has links to poor workplace performance.  Its impacts on cognitive function include concentration, memory, attention, and decision-making. As depression takes over your thoughts and functions, it can affect your motivation. You may be less inclined to make goals or to perform your jobs at home or work.

Tips to stay motivated when you’re depressed

If the thought of working or doing the most basic tasks seems daunting, consider the following tips to stay motivated and to increase your productivity.

1. Accept your diagnosis

The first step to handling a problem is to accept it. 

Understand and accept that depression is a part of your life. Trying to fight or bury your feelings may only be harder on you or cause more problems in the long run. Hiding or bottling up your emotions will only increase your feelings of guilt or hopelessness.

Instead, accept your emotions. Allow yourself to be sad or cry, knowing the feelings will pass. If you need to take a small break or time out, do it. This acceptance of your feelings or emotions is a way to handle the waves of depression in the moment.

2. Set small, manageable goals

Concentrating on small, specific tasks is more manageable than looking at a long to-do list.

Create a plan of action for your day. When you have a busy day, step back and readjust your goals. Break up activities into smaller, more manageable goals. Look no further than the task at hand to avoid stressing or overwhelming yourself

Chunking your goals and activities allows you to focus on one task at a time. Just thinking of a long list of tasks or jobs is enough to stress anyone out. Instead, be realistic when establishing your goals. Set yourself up for success, not failure, if you set the bar too high.

Reward yourself when you achieve your goals. Creating a process of small steps and rewards helps to restore your motivation. In addition, this process builds up your sense of accomplishment so you can increase the difficulty of your tasks. Remember to stop and re-evaluate your expectations if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

3. Don’t overschedule

As you plan your tasks, keep it simple. If you can only get one thing done, that’s fine. Don’t over plan your day as it will increase your stress level. Just as you are focusing on small, simple tasks to complete, maintaining a light schedule can lessen the weight on your shoulders. 

As you accomplish your tasks, you can rebuild your motivation and increase the number of jobs or goals for the day. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself along the way.

4. Get enough sleep

Sleep affects your mental, physical, and overall health. It impacts all aspects of your day.

Without enough sleep, you have less energy to perform your tasks well. You don’t have the same reserves of energy stored up to function at your fullest throughout the day. As you get tired from the lack of sleep, your motivation level drops. 

For children and teens, the lack of sleep equates to poor performance in the classroom. For adults, sleep deprivation affects work performance, focus, concentration, and memory. 

Healthy adults should try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and performance.

5. Focus on the positives, not negatives

Depression feeds on negativity such as self-pity, doubts, and fears. Surrounding yourself with a negative, draining environment gives your depression fuel. Instead, remove the negativity and focus on the positives.

Focus on feelings of gratitude and uplifting content. Practice positive self-talk. Smile, laugh, and joke. Not only does laughter make you feel lighter or happier, but also it relieves your stress and positively impacts your health.

Additionally, surround yourself with friends, family members, and co-workers who lift you up and support you. When your core group is positive, you regularly hear positive outlooks and stories. Their words start to sink in and affect your line of thinking.

By changing your mindset to focus on positivity rather than negativity, you improve your motivation.

6. Find a support network

In addition to supportive friends and family, consider turning to a professional for help. If depression affects your motivation level and keeps you from living life to its fullest, contact your mental health provider.

Depression treatment at Focus Clinic

At Focus Clinic, we specialize in online mental health treatment for depression, anxiety, and adult ADHD. Our board-certified mental health professionals provide holistic, integrative care and prescription medication management.

Our telepsychiatry platform allows us to remove the typical boundaries and make mental health care more accessible. Using a virtual health platform, you can receive treatment for depression right in the comfort of your home! 

For help staying motivated when you’re depressed, schedule an appointment with Focus Clinic for online diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms.

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