Guest Post: 5 Strategies for Getting Things Done When You're Depressed by Marcus Clarke (psysci)

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Depression is a serious illness that affects physical, emotional and mental health. It can be incredibly difficult to maintain a regular routine when you are dealing with depressive symptoms including anxiety, stress, disrupted eating patterns and sleepless nights – to name just a few. This makes it very difficult to function and get things done that cannot be put off for later. Luckily, today’s modern world provides access to new information and research with insight into dealing with depression. The following list provides 5 useful strategies for getting things done when you’re depressed.

1. Prioritize

Draw up a list of relevant priorities that must be completed. These priorities must be feasible, and should include tasks and activities that cannot be put aside. This will allow you to set aside non-essential activities that could overwhelm you and cause further anxiety, while still ensuring that important things get done. This list provides great tips on how to prioritize. Don’t be afraid to talk to your employers about your condition. Let them know what you are going through and talk to them about work priorities – there might be work priorities for which deadlines can be extended to take some weight off your shoulders. Prioritizing will help you distinguish between essential and non-essential tasks that must be completed, while also serving as a motivation to get up each morning to complete the most important tasks.

2. Find a support group

Having a support group to help you through difficult times can make a huge difference to your mental and emotional states. This support group could include health professionals such as nurses and your psychologist, friends and family who understand your condition and are willing to support you and recovery groups with people who can relate to what you are experiencing. Share your goals and recovery journey with those who support you – this will help them keep you accountable and will allow them to support you in meaningful ways. Finding a support group will also allow you to delegate smaller responsibilities to those who are willing to help out, in turn allowing you to focus on getting better and taking care of yourself until you are on a road to recovery and feel strengthened.

3. Be patient with yourself

Depression often leads to emotional distress that can leave you with mixed feelings of anger, guilt and fear. Getting things done when you’re depressed is even more difficult when you are putting more pressure on yourself. Being too hard on yourself can have detrimental effects, while labelling yourself as being unproductive or lazy when something doesn’t get done serves to complicate matters further. Look at your list of priorities again and remind yourself that handling the most important priorities is more than enough. Build up your self-confidence by speaking positive words and encouraging yourself.

4. Stay away from social media

Social media can become a vortex that overwhelms you with feelings of insecurity, jealousy and a fear of missing out. Social media platforms often depict fake lifestyles in which everybody seems to be happy, healthy and carefree all the time. Turn off the social media and focus on encouraging yourself with positive words and small rewards when you achieve your goals. A system of rewards for completed tasks can help motivate you to meet the daily or weekly priorities that you have set out. If you can’t see yourself giving up social media right away, try to limit your time on social media and be aware of why social networking can be bad for your mental health. If you are feeling lonely and need social interaction, consider turning to your support group for company that will provide a positive influence and good encouragement.

5. Establish healthy habits

Establishing a regular sleeping pattern can help overcome symptoms of sleeplessness, insomnia and irregular sleeping patterns that are often experienced with depression. Natural supplements such as B12 vitamins can be taken to boost the immune system, while a healthy diet that avoids saturated fats, sugars and unhealthy oils can lessen the effects of depressive symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite and mood swings. Aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging and yoga can help clear the mind while aiding the body to gentle physical recovery.

In conclusion, these 5 strategies of prioritizing tasks, finding a solid support group, exercising patience, limiting time spent on social media and implementing healthier habits can have a positive influence in getting things done when you’re depressed. These strategies are interdependent and by making use of the strategies simultaneously, you will find that the symptoms of depression lessen considerably.

Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.


Mini-Disclaimer: The content contained in this post solely reflect the personal opinions of the author and doesn't necessarily represent the official position of Mallory Grimste, LCSW. Regarding content referring to diet and exercise, or other suggestions, you should consult your primary care physician or other professional providers

Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT