Needing some tips to be productive with depression?
How often has it happened that your counselor has told you that you have to “retrain your brain” or “combat the symptoms”. While this is all true counselors- including myself- do not always give details on what that means.
When a depressive episode is severe, it can limit one to their bed, cause worthlessness, hopelessness, lack of hygiene and many more symptoms that limit productivity. Yet again no one is telling you how to be productive when you are depressed.
Related Post: How to help someone with depression
Allow me to alleviate some stress by informing you of some things you can do to ensure you are productive even in the face of depression.
Tip #1 How To Be Productive With Depression: Be Proactive
Know what you need to do the next time you get depressed instead of reacting after the fact. Although you take your medication as you should, you show to therapy and see your doctor routinely, there is more. There will still be a time when you may have an episode and you need a relapse prevention plan for when or if it happens.
Have an active social support that knows your “red flags” and triggers to depression or low moods. There are many times my friends have noticed a change with me that I have not noticed myself. At times it can be small things to you such as not showering or cleaning your home that signal something is wrong to others.
There are many ways to plan your day so that you are not overwhelmed but still be productive with depression. I recommend a planner, dry erase calendar or dry erase board that keeps you on track throughout the day. Be sure to include self care activities such as exercising, reading, journaling and the like to ensure you are doing things each day specifically for your mental health.
Tip #2 How To Be Productive With Depression: First Things First
Set boundaries with yourself and prioritize to be most productive when depressed. Tell people “no” and limit access to yourself while you are in a vulnerable state. Although easier said than done, let your motivation be the success of the friendship or relationship.
The more you pour into others the less you have for yourself. Put yourself first by knowing which activities you absolutely need to do to remain productive while depressed. The best quote I have heard and used “If you can’t say no then your yes’s mean nothing”.
I know from day to day there are many task that need to be accomplished. However, you need to focus on what actually needs to be done in order to remain productive while depressed. Focus on assignments, hygiene and other task that are important and urgent.
If you have children these tips may help you! It can be difficult to put your mental health as a priority when you are also a parent, but it must be done. Cut yourself some slack and grant yourself some leniency. You will not be a bad mom if you have take out for dinner or watch television with your children instead of reading with them. You are giving yourself what you need, a break!
Tip #3 How To Be Productive With Depression: Do The Hard Stuff First
As you think of the task you must get done, tackle the hard activities first to ensure productivity. Of the task that need to be completed, identify which is the hardest, do that first! While depressed it can be difficult to tap into energy and motivation to get thing done.
Although not depressed, I too lack motivation, energy and do not want to get out of bed. This happens often when I am really anxious and feeling overwhelmed. If this happens to you these tips may help you out!
What I noticed helped my clients- and myself- is getting up knowing the activities that need to be done and knowing I do not have to accomplish it all. I give myself the grace I so easily give others. If someone comes into session and states that I was the only reason they have gotten out of be in weeks, I take it and affirm their ability to get out of bed. Yet, I would not give myself that same energy!
It is true that you need coping skills, therapy and medication. You also need a plan, boundaries, limited task and self care activities to manage your mental health and have stability in life.
What helps you when you need to be productive but are depressed?