5 Ways To Be Productive Even When You're Struggling With Depression & Don't Have Any Motivation

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How To Be More Productive When You're Dealing With Depression

Dealing with depression can put the brakes on your motivation and make it feel impossible to do anything.

You know those days when you wake up depressed but you have to be productive nonetheless? They can feel next to impossible.

It's important to figure out how to be more productive even on those days when your depression brings your motivation level down to a zero.

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While it might at times feel like you are climbing a mountain backward in flip flops, if you have to be productive it is possible.

Here are 5 essential tips for how to be more productive and find motivation when you're dealing with depression:

1. Get out of bed

This is the most essential piece of being productive when depressed. And it’s probably the hardest.

Your bed is most likely your favorite place to be when you're depressed. It’s cozy, warm, and safe, and you can sleep away your sadness. At least for a while.

But to be productive, you have to get out of it, which is hard but imperative.

People I know who suffer from depression have a myriad of tricks to get themselves out of bed and stay out of bed.

They place their alarm clock across the room and when it goes off they have to get out of bed to turn it off. Some people strip their sheets off their bed once they're out, or even take their mattress off its box spring.

Whatever it takes to keep you out of bed and get started on your day, do it!

2. Exercise

The second most important piece of being productive when depressed is getting some exercise.

I know! The prospect seems herculean, but what a difference it will make if you can do it!

Exercise produces endorphins, which is the chemical that's deficient when you're depressed. Exercise will help replete your body's supply of endorphins, at least for a while. And newly stocked, your body and mind will be more productive.

So get out and do something. Take a walk, go for a run, do some yoga, play frisbee. Whatever you enjoy that will get your heart rate up and those endorphins flowing.

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3. Choose one thing to get done

Sometimes all it takes is doing one thing to get out of a depressed stupor.

Sitting in your bed, or on your sofa, pondering all of the things that you have to do can be so daunting that you give up completely and instead binge-watch your favorite show. That is not productive.

Instead of focusing on everything you need to get done, consider one thing. And get up off the couch and do that one thing.

Often times, if you're able to break your stupor and get something done, you'll feel so good that you'll want to go on to another thing.

And, while you might still feel depressed, you're still being productive — this will ultimately help put that depression at bay.

4. Choose to do things that you can do

When I am depressed, there are some things I'm absolutely not capable of doing. Making phone calls is one of them. I hate making phone calls on a good day. On a depressed day, forget about it.

I do know that on a depressed day, there are some things I can do.

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I can sort through my piles of paper and recycle and file them as necessary. I can go through and clean up my email inbox. I can do research on future blogs. I can go for a walk.

I know my things might seem weird, but they are my things. Think about the things that you could do when you are depressed, and do them.

Because even if you can’t make phone calls, doing something else is definitely productive.

5. Let yourself off the hook.

You are depressed. And it sucks. But it is what it is.

Recognize that you're depressed and that you will have to ride it out. And in the meantime, you might not be as productive as you would like to be but you are as productive as you can be.

If you don’t let yourself off the hook, don’t recognize that this depression will pass and that you will become your old self again, you will only sink into a deeper sadness which could fuel your inability to be productive.

So take care of yourself. Recognize that you're in a tough place and you're doing your best nonetheless, and then get up and do that one thing!

Being depressed is horrible. Being productive when depressed can seem impossible. But it doesn’t have to be!

Living with depression is like carrying a fifty-pound gorilla on your back. It’s debilitating and exhausting. But it doesn’t have to defeat you.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.