Do you have trouble finding motivation when feeling depressed?
If the answer is YES, rest assured that you are not alone. Those of us who get depressed really struggle with being productive when we are feeling blue.
Even worse, not being motivated to do anything when we feel down can only make the depression worse.
Luckily there are ways to find motivation when feeling depressed.
#1 – Get out of bed
This might seem fairly obvious but, for many people, the act of simply getting out of bed when they are depressed is impossible.
The inclination to stay under the covers, in the dark, away from the stimulation of the world is almost irresistible when you are depressed. Bed is comfy and cozy and not going to judge you in any way for how you are feeling.
If you are trapped in your bed, GET OUT OF IT!
People I know who are depressed go to great lengths to stay out of bed when they are depressed.
I have known people to take their mattress off the box spring and lean it against the wall. Some people pile their mattress with books. Others strip the bed of the sheets.
Whatever it takes to keep them out of bed when they are depressed.
Because, out of bed, it is WAY easier to get motivated.
#2 – Exercise
The best way to find motivation, whether you are depressed or not, is to get out of the house and exercise.
The act of exercising produces endorphins which will not only lighten your mood but will give you the energy that you need to get off your butt and get some stuff done.
If you add the outdoors to the mix, by taking a walk or riding a bike, you will only compound the positive effects of the exercise. There is nothing like some fresh air and sunshine to give you the energy to take on the world.
Have you ever felt like you could take on the world after a good brisk walk in the park? Can’t you remember that feeling like it was yesterday?
Do it NOW!
#3 – Spend time with people who make you laugh.
When we are depressed we tend to isolate ourselves. The prospect of getting out of bed and actually interacting with people is too much for us to bear.
This is just exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
Picture this. You can spend the rest of the day in bed, covers pulled up over your ears, mulling about how horrible the world is and how you are never going to do anything ever again. OR you can invite some friends over and laze around on the couch, laughing about whatever it is that you laugh about with them.
Which one feels better? Which one might lead to you leaving the house and going to a movie?
You tell me.
#4 – Have sex.
When people are depressed they often have absolutely no interest in having sex of any kind. But let me tell you: you should try it!
Having sex when you are depressed produces, like exercise, endorphins that make you feel better and give you more energy.
Even better, having an orgasm gives you a shot of dopamine, the effects of which can last between 5-7 hours. Imagine what you can get done in 5-7 hours.
And best of all, spending some time naked with another person is way better than lying in bed by yourself because being closely connected with someone makes you feel GREAT and if you feel great, even for just a bit, you are more likely to get out into the world.
#5 – Do one small thing.
When we are depressed the idea of getting anything done at all is completely overwhelming. And so what do we do? Nothing. And then how do we feel? Worse.
I am suggesting that, once you get out of bed and get some exercise, you considering doing just one thing. Anything. Because doing just one thing can often lead to doing another.
Choose something that you really like to do. When I am depressed, I love to go through my inbox and throw shit away. Getting organized feels good. What I hate to do when I am depressed is make phone calls. Talking to people on the phone in that state of mind is not a good idea.
So choose one thing that you like to do, in or out of the house. And do it.
Go make coffee. Take the dog for a walk. Make your bed. Even if it doesn’t lead to doing another thing at least you got one thing done!
Finding your motivation when feeling depressed is very difficult. But it is an important thing to try to do.
When we are depressed the world goes on without us. We stay at home, isolated, in pain and feeling hopeless. And while finding motivation might not fix our depression, it certainly will help us to manage it and not let it get the best of us.
So get out of your bed (unless you are having sex in it), get some exercise, spend time with friends and get one thing done.
Reconnect with the world. You will be glad that you did.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.