I’m a freelance writer with a background in fiction and a newfound passion for non-fiction.
Depression takes you by surprise, drains your energy, and leaves you without motivation to accomplish even the simplest tasks on your to-do-list. But never fear – it doesn’t have to render you lifeless! Don’t let your work-life suffer, and don’t feel overwhelmed by all the chores waiting for you at home. Check out these twelve ways to stay productive even when you’re depressed.
1. Practice calming techniques.
Depression can affect people in different ways. It might make you feel frustrated with yourself and your life at all times, or you might feel nothing at all. Regardless of how depression makes you feel, you need to make time in your day to practice calming techniques. Force yourself relax. Clear your mind, close your eyes, let all your muscles unclench, and try to leave the daily grind behind.
2. Have a support circle.
Have people you can talk to about anything. These should be people you can be open and honest with, so you can tell them how your depression makes you feel without worrying that they’re judging you. You should also respect these people so you can value the quality advice they give you to help you through tough times.
<3. Get physical.
Sitting on your butt might be making you feel worse! Get out and go for a jog around the neighborhood. If it’s too hot or too cold outside, then go to a gym and get your heart pumping. Lift weights, walk on the treadmill, or try to learn how to use equipment that is new to you. Keeping your body busy will also occupy your mind, and being active instead of stagnant will make you feel better overall.
4. Start new goals.
Don’t be deterred by broken resolutions! Who cares if it’s not January anymore? Resolutions don’t have to be started at the beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week, or even the beginning of the day! You can resolve to change your life at any moment. If your goal is to eat healthier, don’t be frustrated that your breakfast was a pastry – start by eating fruits and veggies for lunch! Starting new goals at any time will make you feel more productive.
5. Spend time outside.
Sit on the porch in the sunshine; lay out in the grass; soak up the great outdoors! Getting fresh air and sunlight will make you feel better than being cooped up inside.
6. Eat well.
Eating junk food is going to make your body feel worse, which will in turn bring down your mood. Eat healthy foods, and don’t overeat. You don’t want to feel sluggish when you’re trying to be productive.
Spending time in a messy space is going to make you feel bad, because you’ll feel claustrophobic and unorganized if you’re surrounded by clutter. Take time to clean your work or living space; the act of cleaning will make you feel productive, and you’ll feel great once you have all of your stuff organized.
If your space is already clean, try rearranging it! Moving furniture and wall hangings around will make your space look different and new, and that might rejuvenate your mood. If nothing else, the act of rearranging will give you something to do, and the results you’ll see as soon as you get started will keep you motivated.
9. Stay healthy.
You’re already getting physical, going outside, and eating well, right? Then you’re well on your way to staying healthy. Keeping your body in good shape is the best way to keep your mind in great shape! This will elevate your mood and make you feel inspired to be productive.
10. Be social.
Depression makes you want to close yourself off to others, but don’t let this urge take over. You need to be around people. Even if you have to push yourself to act interested or like you enjoy their company – do it! Forcing yourself to act social and talk and smile to others will make you feel surprisingly good. You’d think it would make you feel fake, but making yourself smile will actually lead to real smiles. Try it!
11. Take breaks.
Don’t overwork yourself. Take frequent breaks from your tasks, whether it’s a project at work or chores at home. Overworking yourself will wear out your body and mind, which will be inviting the depression to overstay its welcome. If you’re worn out and frazzled, you’ll find it harder to be productive.
12. Take one step at a time.
Don’t let your goals seem too daunting. Thinking that something is unattainable will make it even harder to get started, which means you’ll never be productive! Break larger goals into smaller steps that will be easy to accomplish. Make to-do-lists that give you time to tackle each project without feeling like you’re on a tight deadline.