So many people are quick to tell me, you should be doing this, you should be doing that, but what about letting me do my own thing? It might not be the most conventional or what people want me to do, but if it is working for me, why does it matter to them?
When you are feeling really down, your body is running on roughly about 20-30% of its average functioning. If you set yourself the same goals as to when you are feeling good, they become unrealistic and more than likely un-achievable. What I have realised across the past few months is, you have to be kind to yourself when you are feeling like this, you have to listen to your body and do the right thing for you, not for anyone else. I have gone through the times where I tried to push myself and not listen to my body, and in all honesty, it bloody sucks, you feel so much worse for it. So, I have found the following things for helping me feel a little more motivated when I’m feeling pretty shit.
Set small and specific goals:
They might seem tedious to other people, but, for you it might be the start to concurring the bigger picture. For example, do a chore in the house, hoover your room or unload the dishwasher. If you complete it and want to do more, you can always raise the bar if you’re feeling good. Take note that if you feel highly overwhelmed while tackling your goal, chances are it’s too high and you need to lower it to something more realistic or specific, and that is OK too, you have to listen to what your body tells you.
BUT. If you decided you don’t want to do anything at all, challenge that thought, make that extra effort to, get up and tidy your room, you will feel so much better for accomplishing something small.
This leads to the second tip…
Make the goal to do it, not to enjoy it:
When you are feeling crap, it’s almost certain you will loose interest in things that usually would make you feel good. All sorts of things take over your body, feelings of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing, leading to feelings of detachment and defeat. So, when doing something ‘fun’, do it with the goal to do it and complete it, not to enjoy it. It will seriously help, trust me.
Be kind to yourself:
Self-criticism is the worst thing you can do when you feel low, trust me, I am the worst person for it, but it gets you nowhere! If you beat yourself up for being so ‘unless’, ‘unproductive’ and ‘lazy,’ you are going to keep yourself feeling like crap and therefore, stuck in a massive cycle of self-loathing. Try instead to use the same encouraging words you might use for a friend or loved one, you have to be kind to yourself!
To go with this…
Acknowledge your courage for stepping out of your comfort zone:
It is so difficult to realise the good you have achieved in a day when you don’t feel good. You expect to feel bad, you expect to do bad, you expect tomorrow will be more of the same too. If you manage to step outside the comfort zone you have, you manage to do that one job of the day, you managed to see a friend or go to a fitness class, anything, acknowledge that you did that.
A quote I think is fitting is from Steven Hayes, a psychologist,
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re always going to get what you’ve always gotten.”
So, if you find you’re able to do something even very slightly different to the norm, congratulate yourself and tell yourself that you are proud of what you have achieved today. Of course though, stepping out of the comfort zone is the hardest part, it brings to light a level of anxiety, but, that anxiety may be telling you you’re stepping out of the familiar routine of being depressed, so acknowledge your courage!! Try and then bring that courage to other such experiences.
Finally, try and exercise as much as you can:
I know this too is easier said that done, but, even if for that day the exercise is getting out of bed and dressed for the day, as long as you see the improvement, who cares? When you can do this with ease, tell yourself that you will do a little more, go for a quick walk, a jog, a walk with friends, anything to get the body releasing the hormones it does when you exercise. You have to keep going with this, I bought myself a Fitbit last month and I find this to be a massive help, it gives you little goals throughout the day, that helps keep me a little bit more motivated.