When you’re feeling down it can be hard to find motivation. Sometimes to even do the basics.
Greasy, unbrushed hair. Living in your pyjamas. Your best friend = your blanket, a dimly lit room and Netflix. Toast or crisps for dinner. Nope. Motivation is nowhere to be found. Sometimes it’s even too hard to do the essentials like get out of bed to get a drink of water or go to the toilet.
Or is that just me?
How do you find motivation when you’re feeling down?
You give your body and mind what it needs! When you’re depressed it’s especially important to practice self-care even though it feels like such a chore!
When I’m down it’s tough to think about feeding myself, let alone jumping in the shower to wash my hair. Give me trackies, a top knot, the couch, a bag of crisps and the TV and I’m set… Okay, I don’t make the healthiest of choices when I am down!
When you are feeling depressed, take some time out to think about what YOU really need.
Is it a couch day? Chocolate? Sleep? A long hot shower? A hug? A day off work? A walk in the fresh, open air? A meditation retreat?
It could be the smallest of things, it doesn’t matter. Take the time to give your body and mind what it needs. To help you identify what you need let’s chunk it down to three areas of need: mental, physical and spiritual.
Mental Health Needs
Nurturing your mental health is critical to survival BUT it’s one of the areas a lot of us don’t pay attention to until it’s too late.
Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders – many whom live with both conditions.
And while the statistics might seem discouraging, it doesn’t need to be this way! By prioritising our mental health needs and making it an integral part of day-to-day life, we can start to make some slow and steady changes.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there anything calling out to you that may ease your anguish, make you laugh (or cry), or bring peace of mind – even if it’s only for half an hour?
Why not talk to someone about it? As part of my arsenal, I regularly see a psychologist to talk through what is happening in my life, any stressors, as well as ways I can structure my life to compliment my mental health needs.
In 2017, this made a dramatic difference after I spent the first six months of the year struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and a resurgence in my depression. Once I recognised the signs, I got myself back on a mental health plan via my GP, was referred to an awesome psych, and started work on myself. I will continue to work with her in 2018 as I realise this is something I need to prioritise.
- Do you need time off to gain mental clarity?
This could be in the form of a ‘mental health day’ to get you away from the daily grind – even if that means sitting on the couch or sleeping. It could also be a weekend getaway with friends, lots of wine, deep and meaningfuls, tears, laughs and cuddles. And when was the last time you took a holiday – even if it was a week spent at home?
As a Highly Sensitive Person and introvert who has anxiety, a lot of the times I feel spiritually sucked dry – kinda like a shrivelled up prune.
I find I need to regularly remind myself of what I want and don’t want in life, my values and my priorities. When I’m living aligned to my values and am being the authentic me, I am more in tune with the universe and spiritually happier.
Here’s a little workbook I’ve put together (free, of course) to help you tune in to what you really need in life.
If you are like me then you need to set yourself reminders to meditate and be mindful.
This can be in the form of post-it notes scattered around the house (‘wash the dishes to wash the dishes’ rather than ‘wash the dishes to analyse your life, worry about what so and so said, and to plan world domination’). As a side note they are also good for my hubby … once he realises what they are for.
When I remember, I listen to inspiring and calming Podcasts that help me put things into perspective and remind me about nurturing my spiritual self. I love podcasts by Tara Brach, which are a mix of inspiring and down-to-earth talks and guided meditations.
Can you think of anything that will make you feel good physically at the moment?
What about a gentle 10-minute yoga session from the comfort of your own lounge room? As often is the case, you may not feel up to leaving the house, so hit up You Tube for some gentle instructional videos. I love Yoga with Adriene, and have recently committed to TRUE – a 30 day Yoga Journey. It runs for the whole of January and is totally free, on You Tube, and available to you in the comfort of your own home at any time.
If you are up for leaving the house, a slow walk along the beach, breathing in the fresh air and letting it blow the cobwebs from your brain is highly recommended.
Now it’s time to take some gentle action.
Set yourself small obtainable goals
When you’re depressed, like plans and goals can be overwhelming (yep, all of that adult stuff)! When I’m down in the dumps, the mere thought of tomorrow can be exhausting … and then the anxiety kicks in.
Take the overwhelm out of living and ditch the long-term goals and plans for now, focussing on small obtainable goals (and I mean small).
Make your goals simple:
- Getting out of bed
- Brushing your teeth
- Taking a shower
- Washing your hair
- Eating breakfast
- Going for a walk
- Driving to the shop to buy groceries
- Eating a hearty meal
- Calling your mum
Just remember to take baby steps, as Rome wasn’t conquered in a day!
Generally our brains are chock full of ‘stuff’. Plans. Goals. Things to do. Worries. It’s when you’re feeling down that this ‘stuff’ becomes overwhelming – even the small and seemingly insignificant ‘stuff‘.
I find lists a great way to keep track of ideas, plans and goals. Lists are also a useful tool to help remove unnecessary clutter from your mind. There’s also a certain satisfaction associated with ticking things off a list, providing a sense of achievement.
At the end of each day set aside 10 minutes to sit down and write what you’d like to carry out tomorrow. This will get everything out of your brain so you can sleep better and wake up with a sense of clarity; ‘What am I going to do today? Well, here’s something I prepared earlier!’
Taking it one step further, why not give each item a rating? It could be something as simple as an ‘excitement’ (i.e. excitement + to downright boring) or ‘urgency’ rating (i.e. really important to who cares!). This will help you narrow down either what really needs to be done or what will be most enjoyable and help you get through the day!
Here’s a list of 46 lists to help you when life gets overwhelming!
Ask for help and/or guidance
I need you to know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Do not feel ashamed.
Asking for help is a struggle sometimes, yet it’ss during times like these you need to pull on your big girl pants and speak up.
Never feel ashamed to reach out and seek help or ask for guidance. There are so many avenues available these days to suit every type of person (extrovert to introvert and more), and with the increasing amount of resources available on the www you never need to feel alone. Alternatively, text someone. Pick up the phone. Send an email or a message. Book in to see your GP or a councillor. Or even check out an anonymous chatrooms hosted by one of the many amazing mental health support organisations worldwide.
If all else fails, ask someone for a hug. Hugs are so underrated!
Be kind to yourself
When it feels like the world is against you, the last thing you need is for your inner critic to become all ‘mean girl’ on your ass.
What you do need is your own personal cheer squad! Pay yourself some kindness, stop beating yourself up, and put an end to putting yourself down. Now is the time to talk yourself up, nurture your mind and body, and to most importantly love you.
Here’s a guide to using positive affirmations – they might just help!
Acknowledge how far you’ve come
You’ve been through a hell of a lot. And at times it has all felt way too tough. But you have survived! Yes, the future will also be full of challenges, but you’ve got this.
You will get through it. You will continue to survive.
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