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  • Sara

10 Ways to Boost Motivation When You're Feeling Down

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

When we’re feeling especially down, having a bad day in which we don’t feel very motivated to do anything, accomplishing our daily to-dos can feel overwhelming. This is only amplified and made worse by clinical depression. When you are feeling overwhelmed with what’s on your list and don’t know where to start, remember to take it slow, and set small, manageable goals. You don’t have to take on the world when you barely feel like you want to get out of bed.

Here are some tips to help you find motivation when it seems like it has vanished.

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep has a huge effect on our mental health. If you are feeling depressed, being overtired can make completing tasks that much more difficult. So, get plenty of rest so you have the energy to get out of bed and get things done. Research shows that developing a healthy bedtime routine that you can stick to, limiting caffeine intake, eating a couple of hours before you lye down, and practicing an evening mindfulness exercise can all contribute to a more restful night.

  1. Get up and get dressed

While simply getting out of bed and putting clean clothes on seems simple, it may not be all that easy when you’re in a depressive state. This essential part of the day can seem overwhelming. However, it can help you feel accomplished if you force yourself to select a new outfit and go about your day. Planning what to wear in the morning takes some focus and can help distract you from the negative emotions you’re feeling. Choosing a new outfit each day can also feel empowering. The more that’s in your control during this time, the more confident you’ll feel.

  1. Leave yourself positive notes

Get yourself some sticky notes and a colorful pen and get to work! Write positive affirmations on them and stick them around your house. By doing this you create a positive space and feed your mind with positive messages that you can internalize. Consider writing short and sweet messages such as, ‘You’ve got this!’ ‘Keep going,’ or ‘One day at a time.’ Place the stickies wherever you’re most likely to see them throughout the day.

  1. Keep your schedule manageable

When we overload ourselves with an impossible number of tasks to complete it can leave us feeling discouraged when we can’t complete them all. If you know you are having a particularly difficult time with your depression, try to lighten up your load. Remind yourself that each task you complete is a victory. You may want to make a physical to-do list so you can cross each item off as you go and be able to easily visualize your accomplishments.

  1. Go outside

Studies show that being outside in the sunshine is a great way to boost your mood. By boosting serotonin levels, you are also helping boost your motivation.

  1. Socialize

Socialization may feel like the last thing you want to do when you are feeling depressed, but it can help boost your mood and motivate you to get out of bed. Simply going on a walk with a friend or meeting up for lunch can be enough to put yourself in a more positive headspace.

  1. Create a support system

Depression can leave you feeling unmotivated to talk to friends/family, go to work, or get out of bed. By talking to a friend, family member, or therapist about how you experience times of depression you are creating a vital support system you can turn to during difficult times. Having someone check in on you or encourage you to do something can be a great help when you can’t find the motivation yourself.

  1. Live in the moment

If you wake up in the morning and immediately think of all the things you have to do that day, it can bring your mood down as well as decrease motivation. Instead, focus on what you have to do at that moment, such as eat breakfast or get dressed.

  1. Don’t feed into your depression

Depression can cause you to neglect yourself and talk negatively to yourself. Go easy on yourself and take some much-needed time for you. Simply being kind to yourself and avoiding negative self-talk can help lift your mood. If you convince yourself you are lazy or should be ashamed that is how you are going to act. Acknowledge your accomplishments and remember these icky feelings will pass.

  1. Pair a dreaded task with something you enjoy

If cleaning the house seems like the worst thing ever, put on some music or a show while you clean. By pairing a task that you don’t want to do with something you enjoy, it helps eliminate some of the stress you may be feeling.

Remember, depression is a diagnosable mental health condition. Seek professional help if you are in a slump you can seems to get out of. A therapist can help you work through these feelings in a safe and supportive space. Your physician can also prescribe medication that can help. Don’t suffer in silence!


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