Anyone who has ever suffered from clinical depression knows that it ruins your productivity. Depression zaps you of energy, and depending on how serious your condition is, you might find yourself unable to get anything done. However, once depression has become a part of your life for long enough, you figure out ways to get things done despite depression. On particularly bad days, you might want to stay in bed for hours, under a soft, comfortable blanket. However, fortunately, or unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. We still don’t treat mental health the same way we treat physical health and so more often than not, you’ll still have to go to school or work and just be productive.
But How Can I Get Things Done Despite Depression?
How can you be productive when you feel like a lifeless body? Several people who are depressed are also high-functioning, which goes to show that depression can be manageable. Most advice surrounding depression is fluffy, like asking people to indulge in “self-care” and “take a break!” But sometimes you need some no-nonsense, practical advice about how to get things done despite depression. If it works for you, then it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sound as pretty or cute. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with the bad days so here are some things you can do to manage.
Home is full of distractions, and it’s also an environment you’re too used to. It’s the same environment where you’re often crying, where you spend most of your bad days. Get out of there.
Just Do It
We’ve all heard of Nike, the athleisure brand and its famous slogan ‘Just Do It’. It sounds obvious, but my way of looking at depression actually changed when I read that the best way to get things done despite depression is to just do it. Of course, that will always sound easier said than done. However, here’s the ugly truth: Depression will never want you to do things. You’re never going to “feel up to it” on your bad days. That’s the whole point. Depression will want you to stay in bed.
So the easiest way to get things done despite depression? Just do the things. Get up, get out of bed, and do what you need to do, even if you feel horrible. If something needs your immediate attention, you’re probably just going to have to work on it despite how you feel. And chances are, once you start, your mind will get busy, distracted and you won’t feel as bad anymore.
There’s always so much on our plates but we have so little energy on some days. Cut yourself some slack, and start with what’s most important. To determine this, you look at its urgency and its importance. If it’s important as well as really urgent, you begin with it. If there’s something you know you can put off until tomorrow, perhaps, without much trouble, then don’t hesitate. Prioritise your work so you can at least get some things done despite depression.
Ask yourself: how much of my energy does this work need? Does it really need my 100 percent? Can I give it 60 percent of my energy and get it done quicker? So much of the work we do doesn’t require us to be fully present in the moment, and that’s okay to take advantage of. If it’s easier to cook something simpler on one night than an elaborate meal, your family will – and should – understand.
Just Show Up
Here’s something that has helped me so much. We often think that we need to give our best to whatever situation we’re in. However, sometimes, our best is relative to how we’re feeling. So a handy tip is to stop stressing about how much you don’t want to go to class because you really don’t feel like being in an intellectually stimulating environment. You don’t have the energy for understanding a lecture. Here’s what you can do instead: just show up.
How can you be productive when you feel like a lifeless body? Several people who are depressed are also high-functioning, which goes to show that depression can be manageable.
Sometimes we obsess so much about how we’re not giving our best that we forget that it’s good enough to just be there. The act of going somewhere physically gives us not only the excuse to take a shower, dress in clean clothes but also be around others. Maybe the professor cracks a joke and we end up smiling – even though we didn’t feel like we could, a few minutes ago. It probably won’t turn your day around but it helps a lot to be around people, and especially be outside.
A Change In Location
When you’re having a particularly tough time getting stuff done, it’s important to think about where you’re working. Home is full of distractions, and it’s also an environment you’re too used to. It’s the same environment where you’re often crying, where you spend most of your bad days. Get out of there.
Put on clean clothes, take a shower if you haven’t, and go to a café or a library. A change in location almost always helps with mood. Moreover, being surrounded by people who are working inspires you to work. You’ll probably get more things done than you would at home. To get things done despite depression, it’s also important to minimise distractions, so a library is a good place to do that. You’re not tempted to procrastinate and it’s easier to focus.