Depression is a killer to energy, focus, interest, and motivation. People suffering from depression get what they are supposed to do but the question they often ask is how?
At the very beginning, it can be extremely difficult to get yourself motivated when dealing with depression. If you can get a bit of a kick starter it can often time make things easier. How though, do you get that kick starter and get the engine running?
Set your bar low
When you are feeling depressed you are not at the normal functioning level. Your functioning level is rather low to sometimes nonexistent. If you set your bar and expectations for what you would expect at a normal level you will end up feeling overwhelmed and often the anxiety will kick in. This means you probably won’t get around to doing the task. This will leave you with feelings of defeat and shame.
You want to set specific and small goals to start out with, something that is definitely achievable at a low motivation level. Even if it is something as simple as unloading the dishwasher. It’s a small task and something that you can achieve. If you feel overwhelmed at emptying the whole dishwasher change the goal to just half the dishwasher.
This gives a sense of accomplishment and helps to raise the motivation bar a little bit higher.
Practice self-compassion not self-criticism
Self-criticism goes hand in hand with depression and is tightly interlinked. People often find that they are beating themselves up for not accomplishing anything in their day or being lazy. This just keeps you feeling like crap and the motivation will never rise. Try thinking of encouraging words you might say to a friend or family member and say them to yourself. Look up some good affirmation videos on YouTube and when you find ones you like, bookmark them to watch regularly.
Try to envision how you will feel after completing the task
Often with depression, we are living in the moment, the past or worrying about the future. Put aside those thoughts and try to imagine what feelings you might have after you complete a task. Imagine the sense of accomplishment and how that might improve your overall mood and motivation to keep going. Again lower your expectations for yourself and the goal you set to make sure it is attainable.
Make the goal something to do not enjoy
One of the issues when facing depression is a loss of interest in most or all things that used to make you feel happy. Spending time with friends may not be as enjoyable as it once was and can be draining on energy. Things you used to find funny may no longer be funny. These things can often lead to having feelings of defeat and attachment. So make your goal a to do it goal not a to do it and have fun goal.