Staying Motivated with Depression

Motivation can be a hard thing to maintain. Add depression, and staying motivated becomes ten times harder. Depression makes simple tasks and little things in a normal daily routine seem exhausting and takes more effort than it typically would. So, if you have depression, how do you stay motivated to carry out these tasks and get things done?

For me, it’s all about the long run. I definitely lose sight of that sometimes and feel like it’s not even worth it, but I always come back to the fact that what I do now, especially at this age, will deeply affect my future. Maintaining a job, keeping up on schoolwork, and just going through daily life feels so heavy. But it’s something you have to learn to deal with if you want to go anywhere.

Something I do when I’m trying to stay motivated is set up rewards. I’ll sit down and focus on the things I don’t necessarily want to do but need to get done, and I’ll give myself something to look forward to after I’m finished. It can be anything you enjoy, usually for me it’s working on a painting or just having one of my favorite snacks and watching a TV show. Getting your priorities straight is tough, especially when you’re just trying to work up the energy to even function.

Sometimes I go off the rails and only focus on doing things that help me ignore my problems, like hanging out with friends or partying. This is a terrible way to cope with your emotions, and will catch up with you way quicker than you think it would. Before you know it, you have work piled up and you’re super behind, you’re falling back on your responsibilities, and the pain is still there, because you haven’t actually been working through it. Even though it’s exhausting, staying motivated and finishing what you need to do is going to give you less stress in the long run.

I think a big part of not feeling motivated enough to get stuff done is about confidence. A lot of people reach a point where they don’t feel like they can get stuff done even if they wanted to. You kind of just sit and stew in your guilt, and by doing this you’re only setting yourself further back. Remember that you do have the ability to follow through and finish what you need to do, you just need to work up to it and dedicate yourself.

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