I won’t go too much in detail here (at least not yet), but as someone who has gone through depression, there are some things I’ve learned that have helped draw myself out of the funk I was in.
While these tips worked a whole lot for me, I am not you and I definitely think seeing a therapist and getting professional help is the number one option. It is also important to remember that these tips will help make a difference only depending on the effort you’re willing to put in and the motivation to make a change in your life.
1. Make a chart with “rewards”
One day I thought about all the things I would like to accomplish in a day. Healthy habits, things that would help me on my own road to success, how to stay organized, etc.
I charted all of my goals on the bottom of a piece of paper and the days going vertically. I hung it up on the wall where I could see it (a journal or organizer also work well). Whenever I would complete a goal, I’d check it off or color it in. After x amount of days of getting ALL my goals done, I rewarded myself with something that would motivate me to keep going, to keep fighting. A trip to the movies, a magazine, those running shoes I had my eyes on. Whatever speaks to you.
This may sound like something out of an elementary class, but for me it WORKED. It made me feel good and helped me to visually see which daily goals I’m struggling with and which ones I excel at.
2. Stick to a routine. Then do something out of your ordinary.
This sounds a bit contradictory, but it make sense, I swear. Let me explain: By making a routine for myself, I now use the time that would have otherwise been spent ruminating over my life. As a stay-at-home mom, my schedule goes something like this:
5:30-6:30: wake up and start morning routine
1:30-4: Blog. Cook. Take pictures for blog. Work out. Clean. Daily tasks
8-10ish: Start night routine, reflect upon the day and look at tomorrow. RELAX.
(The missing hours are when Benoit is home and I am spending the time with him).
Whenever I don’t make a checklist or schedule in these activities with what I should or could be doing, I end up on the couch. Ruminating. And usually ending up not feeling so good about myself.
So make a date with yourself! Many people who stick to their workout routines write down their workout time in their calendar-even if they’re just staying at home and not working out at the gym.
On the other hand….
It can also be nice to do things that are out of your comfort zone or out of the ordinary from your daily schedule. These can also be scheduled in your calendar so that you actually end up doing it. Make a date with yourself to go on a walk or check out that art gallery down the street. Try out that running group you’ve been meaning to make your way to. Doing something different outside of your normal routine helps put a little extra oomph into your life.
3. Write down and continuously glance at your favorite motivational quotes
Some of my favorite motivational quotes are up on my wall where I can see them every day. They keep me feeling optimistic and positive, and yes-they motivate me! I like to write mine on post cards and put them around the apartment, switching them out from time to time. Some I’ll take with me in my planner or keep in my purse to look at whenever I’m on the go. And, of course, Pinterest is also a great way to find those quotes and your new favorites!
4. Ask yourself one simple question
Whenever I am refusing to do something that I know I should do, but for whatever reason (anxiety, feeling sad, laziness, fear) I am stuck to the comfort of my bed, I ask myself a simple question:
Do I want to get better?
If my answer is yes (which it always is) then 90% of the time I will go and do it. The important part of this is not overthinking it. Because when you start to think too much, you start to make excuses, and you don’t end up doing it.
Me:It’s time to go to my bootcamp class.
Also me: I make the excuse that it’s okay to stay home where I feel safe and besides I should get things done here anyways.
Me: If I go, will it take me a step further to who I want to be?
Also me: Yes.
Me: Ok then I’ll go.
And I’m one step closer to where I want to be.
5. Have a friend hold you accountable OR do it alongside a friend
Having a close friend who you can trust and be your cheerleader will be a special pick-me-up in your life. Someone who encourages you. Maybe that person’s your mom. Or your spouse. Whoever it is, ask them if they will hold you accountable for the goals you want to achieve. If they can check up on you on a weekly or every other week basis just to see if you are accomplishing your goals. All you need to do is ask them to send you an email every other Friday (for example) asking, did you get ____ done? You will automatically have a good kind of pressure put on you to get whatever it is done!
You could also team up with a friend who is also wanting to make a positive change in their life or just start getting up off the couch more often. But remember, if the other person happens to drop out or they seem to get more accomplished than you, don’t compare and you won’t despair!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Over the past year I have re-incorporated journaling into my morning routine. Journaling whenever during the day is great to let out your frustrations and working to get past certain obstacles. However, journaling first thing in the morning, right after you wake up, is the best. I read about doing this in the book The Artist’s Way (a life changer, by the way) and have been doing it almost every day since I first read about it. By writing right when you wake up it’s a huge release and you can get whatever it is you’re feeling out there and out of the way. It’s seriously therapy. It helps you express how you are really feeling. You needn’t share it with anyone, and you don’t have to re-read it. Actually the author forbids you to. Since I’ve been doing this, my mind has felt a million times clearer and I emotionally I feel so much better.
7. Write out a personal mission statement
This one right here. It takes the cake.
When you’re depressed, you don’t have much hope for your future. Trust me, I know. Writing out my own personal mission statement of what I want my life/future to look like and how I could take steps to it gave me hope that my goals are possible.
So think of a goal you have in mind, and think big! Getting into a college. Getting that new job. Opening up your own restaurant. Becoming a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist (ha! That’s mine). Write it down and whatever else you’d like to go with it, such as how much you want it and what it means to you. Whenever you’re feeling stuck or lazy, take it out and read it – and get back on your feet again.