If you woke up this morning feeling like you can’t get anything done, you’re not alone. Depression is one of the most prevalent psychological issues in the UK, affecting about 1 in 6 adults. And it’s no joke that depressed feelings can keep you from being productive because the UK loses 17.9 million of work days due to depression, anxiety, or stress. With more and more people experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to have a closer look at how we perform different tasks. It’s okay to have a slump once in a while, but doing even small amounts of work can improve your mood. To help you make it through the day, here are tips to get things done when you’re depressed. If you would rather speak to a depression counsellor and therapist let us know.
Take a Shower – When Depressed
When the day begins, the hardest part is getting out of bed. Even if you do, attempting to start tasks straight away could mean setting yourself up for failure. Just like athletes need to warm up before they can train, you need to get into ‘work mode.’ This will require getting out of your pyjamas and ideally, taking a shower. Baths are known to have a proven beneficial effect on mental health, so grab your towel and start scrubbing.
StayFocused With Short Bursts of Activity
When you’re depressed, you’re not as motivated, which makes it easier for you to get distracted. That’s where effective time management strategies, such as the Pomodoro Technique, can improve focus. It involves working in half-hour cycles. These include 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by a 5-minute break. After you complete four cycles that last a total of two hours, you can take a half-hour break. If working non-stop for 25 minutes seems overwhelming, you can modify them according to your needs. You can work for 20 minutes and follow it with a 10-minute break. Once you start using the method, you’ll be able to work for longer periods with well-structured breaks.
Re-do Your To-do List – Depressed
In its current state, your to-do list may look like it’s better off at the bottom of your handbag under the pile of receipts and chewing gum wrappers. But if you organise your tasks, it could help you feel more motivated to do things. One way to do this is through micro-tasking, which means breaking down your tasks into smaller chunks. Then, you can try batching certain tasks together to help you save time. So if you’re going out to get groceries, you might as well take your car to the mechanic as well.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist and Ask For Help
Often, when depressed we are so focused on doing things perfectly, that we never get around to starting in the first place. And because we have such high expectations, we won’t ask anyone for help either. Not only does this leave tasks unfinished, but it can lead to a continued cycle of depression. Hence, it’s important to be flexible and accepting of results that fall short of perfect.
Don’t Do All the Hard Tasks At Once
When you pile up all the most difficult tasks together, it can feel impossible to get anything done. Instead, alternate between tasks of the low, medium, and high difficulty. So if you make lunch, which can be categorised as high difficulty, proceed with watering the plants (low difficulty).
Move Around and Feel Energised
When you’re depressed, the last thing you want is for someone to tell you to move around. However, research indicates that higher oxygen levels as a result of movement can improve focus. Also, when you sweat, your body produces hormones that can have a positive effect on mood. Now before you worry about what hellish exercises you’ll have to go through before you have the motivation to do a sink-full of dishes, I’ll stop you right there. Yes, exercise can be helpful, but you don’t necessarily have to do a complete routine–you just have to move. Take a break and try something light like dancing to your favorite song, taking a light stroll around the neighbourhood, or doing a few sets of jumping jacks.
See a Professional
While self-help tips can do wonders to improve your productivity while you deal with depression, the most effective way is to have someone who holds you accountable. Ideally, this should be a professional therapist who is invested in your progress and acknowledges your effort. They can also provide helpful guidance on how you can manage your time and compartmentalise depressed feelings to focus solely on work.