When a person with depression is told to get motivated, it is like telling someone to get past a very difficult thing in their life by snapping their fingers. It is not that people with depression cannot get motivated or don’t want to get well. They simply cannot function and struggle to get moving. There are those who think medication is not okay to use but in the cases for people with depression or substance abuse history, it can be a lifesaver. Look to ways to boost motivation when depressed and forget about any naysayers who are not sure what they’re talking about when it comes to causes of depression.
Lower the Bar
Identifying lifestyle changes that might make a person with depression feel better can help with coping. Depression can get a person down for awhile and it is harder to get back up again. Depression kills motivation, energy, interest, and focus. It often becomes easier when people connect with what gives them purpose, but takes baby steps to get there.
Small and specific goals are the norm. Look at the tasks that were on the list to be done and the ones that got done. Take note that if you feel overwhelmed by tackling this goal, chances are it’s too high and you need to lower it to something more realistic.
Some people have trouble holding themselves accountable at the best of times. With little motivation or energy, it becomes harder. Confide in someone you trust and ask for help. Ask a friend to hold you to your commitment. Ask your partner to accompany you to yoga, pay for support groups, get a massage, do what you have to do to get support.
Envision How You Will Feel
Getting in the shower, going for a walk, or hanging with a friend seems ominous but only if you focus on the effort involved. People who are depressed generally have low self-efficacy. This means their confidence is lower in performing tasks. People then tend to feel overwhelmed and avoid the tasks at hand. Lowering expectations help and envisioning how you might feel afterwards.
Do the Goal
When you feel depressed, it is easy to lose interest in what makes you happy. Comedies are not funny, you lose your sense of humor, sports are not fun, and friends are not engaging. Anxiety, depression, and self-loathing take over. When doing something ‘fun’ or ‘active,’ do it with the goal in mind, not to enjoy it. Do it because you are going to accomplish something for yourself and achieve something good in your recovery.
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